Surgical Safety Checklist

To ensure a uniform approach to checking patient identification and matching that patient to their intended surgical intervention the Surgical Safety Checklist has been developed. 

Purpose of the checklist

The purpose of the Surgical Safety Checklist is to:

  • establish a uniform approach to checking Patient Identification and matching that patient to their intended surgical intervention, across the public health care sector
  • guide the development of a system which facilitates the correct identification of patients prior to the commencement of a surgical procedure, thereby minimising the possibility of a wrong surgery incident
  • increase the awareness of all relevant staff, both clinical and non-clinical, patients and the public , of the importance of correct patient identification, matching that patient to their intended care, and the risk to patient safety when this is not achieved
  • provide governance which clearly outlines the responsibilities of individuals and health services in relation to the Surgical Safety Checklist.

SA Health resources

The Clinical Communication and Patient Identification Clinical Directive and Surgical Safety Checklist apply to all SA Health employees and persons who provide or assist in the provision of surgical services on behalf of SA Health.

To assist implementation of the directive and to evaluate whether the surgical safety checklist has been successfully embedded into practice, the following are available:

The observations should be conducted unobtrusively by a member of the Senior Theatre Team and include a sampling of cases across all clinical specialties.


Department for Health and Wellbeing - Safety & Quality Unit