Qual Saf Health Care 13:i27-i32 doi:10.1136/qshc.2004.010009
  • Original Article

The simulated operating theatre: comprehensive training for surgical teams

  1. R Aggarwal,
  2. S Undre,
  3. K Moorthy,
  4. C Vincent,
  5. A Darzi
  1. Department of Surgical Oncology & Technology, Imperial College, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrR Aggarwal
 Clinical Research Fellow, Department of Surgical Oncology & Technology, Imperial College London, 10th Floor, QEQM Building, St Mary’s Hospital, Praed Street, London, W2 1NY UK;


    Surgical excellence is traditionally defined in terms of technical performance, with little regard for the importance of interpersonal communication and leadership skills. Studies in the aviation industry have stressed the role of human factors in causing error and, in an attempt to reduce the occurrence of adverse events, led to the organisation of simulation based training scenarios. Similar strategies have recently been employed for the surgical team with the development of a simulated operating theatre project. This enables technical and non-technical performance of the surgeon and circulating staff to be assessed by experts situated in an adjacent control room, and provides an opportunity for constructive feedback. The scenarios have good face validity and junior surgeons can benefit from the process of learning new technical skills in a realistic environment. The effect of external influences such as distractions, new technology, or a crisis scenario can also be defined, with the ultimate aim of reducing the number of adverse events arising in the real operating room.


    • Competing interests: None.