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Towards safer neonatal transfer: the importance of critical incident review


Background: Critical incidents are common during the inter-hospital transfer of sick patients, and infants are an especially vulnerable group.

Aims: To examine the effect of critical incident review on the number of adverse events during inter-hospital transfer of sick infants.

Methods: Critical incidents over an eight year period are reported from a single neonatal transfer service before and after major service changes were made. The changes were instigated as part of ongoing critical incident reviews.

Results: Changes made as a result of critical incident review significantly reduced the number of incidents contributed to by poor preparation, transport equipment or clinical problems, ambulance delays, and ambulance equipment failure.

Conclusions: The continuous process of critical incident reporting and review can reduce the number of adverse events during the transfer of critically ill infants.

  • critical incidents
  • inter-hospital transfer
  • neonates

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