Safety and Quality
Aim: To promote global standards in anaesthesiology
Objective 1: To promote and maintain the International Standards for the Safe Practice of Anaesthesia around the globe
Objective 2: To provide guidance concerning the professional wellbeing of anaesthesiologists
These standards are recommended 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.
The latest version was published in May 2018 and for the first time the Standards were developed on behalf of both the WFSA and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Click here to watch WFSA Secretary Professor Adrian Gelb discuss the 'The Importance of International Standards' at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, Annual Scientific Meeting 2018. Professor Gelb's lecture emphasises that one International Standard for Safe Anaesthesia can work on a global scale independent of provider and location.
The WFSA has also developed a comprehensive Anaesthesia Facility Assessment Tool (AFAT) which can be accessed here
This forms part of a range of resources on National Surgical Planning available from the Harvard Program in Global Surgery and Social Change.
The WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anesthesia list capnography as RECOMMENDED but add the following important note, "Continuous waveform capnography will be HIGHLY RECOMMENDED when appropriately robust and suitably priced devices are available". (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED is the WHO equivalent of essential / mandatory).
In order to further encourage and guide the development of such devices, and with the aim of reducing the incidence of unidentified oesophageal intubation / inadvertent extubation, the WFSA has published WFSA – Minimum capnometer specifications 2020 (pdf)
As the supply of electricity and compressed gases varies from location to location the WFSA has developed guidelines for those seeking to tender for and purchase anaesthesia machines. Following ISO standards (which the WFSA helped to develop) this short document and flowchart guides the decision maker to the ISO standard appropriate for their environment.
WFSA Partnership with the Red Cross
The WFSA and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are working together to ensure safe anaesthesia for patients admitted to ICRC facilities. The partnership aims to create an anaesthesia forum for questions from the field, update ICRC's clinical protocols, course materia and field sets, and establish mechanisms for the deployment of qualified anaesthesiologists. Amongst the first products worked on by the ICRC-WFSA Liaison Group is the ICRC's Anaesthesia Handbook which provides invaluable guidance for anaesthesia providers working in austere environments.
ICRC is actively recruiting anaesthesiologists for short missions (average is 3 months). Find out more about working for ICRC as an anaesthetist here
The WFSA also supports the ICRC's Health Care in Danger project which was launched in November 2011 during the 31st Red Cross Red Crescent International Conference.
Armed conflict and other emergencies generate additional health care burdens for the people affected, especially the wounded and sick. At the same time, it has been found that it is during these times that health care is most inaccessible and insecure. This situation represents a negation of the right of all wounded combatants and civilians to have access to health care during armed conflict as laid down in international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
The Health Care in Danger project is a Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement initiative aiming to improve security and delivery of impartial and efficient health care in armed conflict and other emergencies.
For more information about the project please click here.
WFSA is a co-founder, funder and supporter of Lifebox Foundation, an independent charity focused on making surgery safer in low-resource countries. More than 70,000 operating rooms worldwide lack access to pulse oximetry, and the risk of anaesthesia mortality can be as high as 1 in 133.
Lifebox provides essential monitoring and training in the World Health Organization (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist – an intervention proven to reduce complications and mortality in the OR by more than 40%. Watch the Lifebox video here for a genuine insight into the function and impact of the checklist.
With support from WFSA and its members around the world, Lifebox has put more than 8000 pulse oximeters into the hands of anaesthesia providers who need them, trained thousands in safer surgical practice, and helped to safeguard millions of patient lives.
Do you always have oximeters available when delivering anaesthesia? If no, are you happy for Lifebox to work with you to provide oximeters and training?
WFSA member societies in low-resource settings are encouraged to apply for this essential equipment and training online here, and all members are invited to play a part in addressing the fastest-growing global health crisis today: unsafe surgery and anaesthesia.
WFSA also recommends the Student Toolkit developed by Lifebox. This is packed with information about global surgery, how Lifebox is making surgery safer, and how you can get involved. Click below.
Further resources for safety and quality can be found in our virtual library