John Pickles

Time: 10:40AM – 11:10AM

Topic: Improving operating theatre safety through the application of non-technical skills


Brief presentation description:

Operating theatre safety has improved through the application of the Surgical Safety Checklist, briefings and time-outs but an understanding of the science of the human factors of non-technical skills is not yet integrated into the training of medical, nursing, professional and technical staff. Quite simple changes in the way we carry out these procedures can improve leadership, communication and behaviour in theatre and positively influence safety, efficiency and staff satisfaction. I will discuss how we can get the most out of briefings, time-outs and de-briefings.



I was a consultant ENT, Head and Neck surgeon at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital from 1989 until 2015, specialising in head and neck cancer surgery. My experience as the medical director of the Trust led to an interest in patient safety improvement, and work with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Boston, USA and the NHS Institute where I helped run the “Leaders in Patient Safety” Course. I have taught non-technical skills to medical, nursing and technical staff in theatre, maternity and ED and helped to introduce the WHO Safer Surgery Checklist to hospitals across the UK.

About the Speaker
John Pickles
  • Profession
    Trustee, Clinical Human Factors Group. Retired ENT, Head and Neck Surgeon
  • Company
    Clinical Human Factors Group