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Operating Theatres: Fire Prevention

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 73830, tabled on 12 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to revise the NHS Never Events policy and framework to classify surgical fires in operating theatres as a Never Event.

Answered on

18 November 2021

NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold information on the number of surgical fires. The National Reporting and Learning System does not have a category to provide data on the number of surgical fires reported.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to support the Expert Working Group and other stakeholders in development of guidance on the prevention of surgical fires in operating theatres, ensuring the Expert Working Groups recommendations are adopted and implemented across the National Health Service. The Centre for Perioperative Care (CPOC) is a cross-specialty collaboration dedicated to the development of perioperative care of patients and are best placed to consider and incorporate the work of the Expert Working Group into their wider National Standards for Safety in Invasive Procedures. The NHS National Patient Safety Team will continue support the CPOC’s consideration of the work of the Expert Working Group.

There are no plans to revise the NHS Never Events policy and framework to classify surgical fires in operating theatres as a Never Event. Such events are defined as serious incidents that are wholly preventable because national guidance or safety recommendations that provide strong systematic protective barriers are available and should be implemented by all providers. As there is currently no national guidance or safety recommendations to prevent surgical fires in operating theatres, these incidents cannot be defined as a Never Event. NHS England and NHS Improvement will review any new guidance on the prevention of surgical fires in operating theatres when it is published.