Australia and New Zealand have launched their first Surgical Safety Checklist to act as a safeguard and reduce adverse events for patients undergoing surgery.

The standardised checklist will verify details to make sure it is the correct patient and site, and if the instrument, needle and sponge count are correct post-operation.

It also aims to ensure that the entire surgical team is introduced to the patient before an operation starts.

The use of a checklist can nearly halve the rate of death from 1.5% to 0.8%, according to researchers.

This in turn would reduce the human cost of hospital errors and the financial cost of readmissions and longer hospital stays, the government said.

The checklist, based on the World Health Organization’s Surgical Safety Checklist, has been developed by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons with the help of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.