International safety standards | Association of Anaesthetists
Return to top

International safety standards

Safety standards in international anaesthesia

Safety in anaesthesia improved dramatically in the mid-80’s, partly due to the introduction of monitoring standards that were formalised in the UK in 1994 by the Association's Standards in Monitoring during Anaesthesia and Recovery. Safe anaesthesia requires the presence of a trained anaesthesia provider who has access to the appropriate drugs, equipment and facilities, and is able to work with a trained assistant. Unfortunately, these standards are not available to many of our colleagues around the world. 

International Standards for the Safe Practice of Anaesthesia

The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) adopted the International Standards for the Safe Practice of Anaesthesia in 1992, and revisions were ratified in 2008 and in 2010. They are recommended standards for anaesthesia professionals throughout the world.

They are intended to provide guidance and assistance to anaesthesia professionals, their professional societies, hospital and facility administrators, and governments for improving and maintaining the quality and safety of anaesthesia care. In some settings, these standards are mandatory, in others aspirational. In all cases, they should improve the safe care of patients. International Standards for the Safe Practice of Anaesthesia PDF »

The WHO Safe Surgery Saves Lives programme led by Atul Gawande aims to improve the safety of surgery around the world by ensuring adherence to proven standards of care in all countries. 
Read more »

The WHO Guidelines for Safe Surgery were published in 2009, and include a description of factors known to reduce harm from anaesthesia. 
Download pdf »

The Surgical Safety Checklist has been shown to reduce complications from surgery by more than one third, and deaths by almost half in both high-middle and low-income settings and the Association encourages its use in all these settings. 
Read more »

The Lifebox project aims to save lives by linking the introduction of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist to the procurement of high quality, low cost oximeters for use in low-and lower-middle income countries.