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National Patient Safety Agency

NPSA issue Europe’s first Interventional Radiology surgical checklist

4 November 2010

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) has become the first organisation in Europe to produce a surgical checklist for interventional radiology aimed at improving safety across the NHS.


Interventional radiology is when minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance, with procedures being done for both diagnostic and treatment purposes. The Safer Surgical Checklist for Interventional Radiology is an adaptation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Safer Surgical Checklist.
The checklist has been produced in conjunction with the Royal College of Radiologists and follows extensive analysis into patient safety incident reports to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS). There were 16,112 patient safety incidents, of which 15,239 resulted in low or no harm, involving radiology to the NRLS between 1 January to 31 December 2009*.


This checklist requires radiologists to:


• ensure that all Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000** requirements have been met;

• check renal function and potential for bleeding before the procedure;

• check that any implanted devices, have been recorded;


• ensure that specimens been labelled.


In addition to this, radiologists will also be required to carry out many of the checks on the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist such as, team introductions and the marking of the procedural sight.


Dr Suzette Woodward, Director of Patient Safety at the NPSA said: “The Safer Surgical Checklist for Interventional Radiology will be a vital tool in increasing the reliability and safety of care during interventional radiology procedures. We are proud to be the first organisation in Europe to produce such a checklist.”


Tony Nicholson, Vice President of the Royal College of Radiologists, said: “The Safer Surgical Checklist for Interventional Radiology will support the development of improved team work and communication in radiology. The College will play an active role in supporting implementation and monitoring progress.”


A copy of the Radiology Checklist is available from the NPSA website at: http://www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk/resources/?entryid45=73612



Notes to editors


1. Media enquiries to the NPSA Press Office:

Dominic Stevenson – 020 7927 9351 / dominic.stevenson@npsa.nhs.uk


Out of hours – 0788 411 5956


2. Following the publication of the Arms Length Body Review on 26 July 2010, the NPSA has stressed the importance for all NHS organisations across England and Wales to continue reporting patient safety incidents through the National Reporting and Learning System. This is so that trends in safety incidents can be identified and acted upon as early as possible.  This aspect of our work will continue within the new proposed structure of the NHS Commissioning Board and we will continue to work together in partnership with NHS organisations to make services even safer for patients.  We will continue to monitor the implementation of all patient safety alerts and guidance.


3. * NRLS doesn’t differentiate between interventional and non interventional (x-ray, CT scans etc) radiology.


4. ** A copy of Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 can be found at:




The regulations are intended to:

• Protect patients from unintended, excessive or incorrect exposure to radiation;

• Ensure that, in each case, the risk from exposure is assessed against the clinical benefit;

• Ensure that patients receive no more exposure than is necessary to achieve the desired benefit

within the limits of current technology.

• Protect volunteers in medical or biomedical, diagnostic or therapeutic research programmes and those undergoing medico-legal exposures (such as those required for employment or emigration purposes).