The ACTASM and the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) collaborate in the collection of anaesthetic-related surgical mortality.
ACTASM is notified by the hospital of all deaths that occurred during a surgical admission (see flowchart (PDF 54.15KB)).
An anaesthetist may be involved when the treating surgeon alerts the possibility of an anaesthetic component of the death.
In which case, ACTASM will send an anaesthetic case form (PDF 109.84KB) to the treating anaesthetist for completion.
An anaesthetic case form is:
- completed by the consultant anaesthetist or registrar (under supervision);
- returned to ACTASM in the reply paid envelope (as soon as possible);
- de-identified and sent to a first-line assessor (a consultant anaesthetist; same specialty, different hospital) for anonymous peer review.
If a second-line assessment (case note review) is not requested by the first-line assessor, the original anaesthetist will be sent written feedback at this point (and the case will be closed).
If a second-line assessment (case note review) is requested by the first-line assessor (that is, the case needs further investigation OR insufficient information has been provided on the case form then these steps are followed:
- An appropriate second-line assessor is selected
- Medical records are requested by ACTASM project staff
- The second-line assessor reviews the anaesthetic case form (PDF 109.84KB), the patient's medical records and the first-line assessor's comment, before writing a one-page report
Note: The review is carried out and the report written in a spirit of sympathetic enquiry
- The report and relevant feedback is sent to the reporting anaesthetist. The case is then closed.
At each stage of the process the reporting anaesthetist has right of reply.