AAGBI statement in response to The Report of the Short Life Working Group on reducing medication-related harm

The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) welcomes the publication today of the Department of Health and Social Care report from the short life working group on reducing medication related harm

It is important to recognise the safety of modern anaesthesia. National audits report over 2.8 million anaesthetics were given in 2011-12 and the next report due soon will add to that number. Each anaesthetic involves several individual drug administrations, each one requiring drug selection, preparation, labelling and then administration. The opportunity for human error is extremely large and there is no room for complacency in our approach to this risk and anaesthetists are motivated to reduce this risk to a minimum. 

As the largest membership organisation for anaesthetists in Great Britain and Ireland, patient safety is top priority.  The AAGBI’s safety committee works alongside the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and NHS Improvement to review and respond to reports of serious drugs errors reported to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS), providing feedback and learning opportunity to all its members on a quarterly basis. In addition, we are working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), NHS Improvement and others to address any effect that drug labelling and packaging, as well as other factors, may have on drug errors in anaesthesia. 

The AAGBI is committed to supporting the WHO third global challenge: Medication without harm and will publish our understanding and guidance on medication safety in anaesthesia within the year. 

Dr Paul Clyburn, President AAGBI

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