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A new resource detailing how surgical safety checklists can be used to improve patient safety within practice. This manual includes examples and testimonials from a variety of practices to help with the development and implementation of your surgical safety checklist [PDF 1529KB] (updated December 2019).

Checklist podcasts

Pam Mosedale, Chair of RCVS Knowledge Quality Improvement Advisory Board, shares valuable lessons about how checklists have reduced errors in human healthcare and other industries, and how checklists can be applied successfully in a veterinary setting (Published April 2020).

This presentation was recorded at Ashbrook Equine Hospital during the RCVS Knowledge Equine Roadshow, kindly sponsored by the Horserace Betting Levy Board and accredited by the British Equine Veterinary Association.

Download the full transcript and accompanying presentation.

Checklists have been used in aviation and human medicine for decades, given their proven power to reduce avoidable errors and significant events.

Amanda Boag (Clinical Director at Vets Now, RCVS Knowledge Trustee and Vice-President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) discusses the state of play with checklists in the veterinary industry, why checklists are liberating rather than constraining, and how a simple piece of paper can save lives.

Download the full transcript and the accompanying presentation.

This podcast is part of the Knowledge Sessions, a resource that brings together specialists from across the veterinary industry to examine the landscape, propose potential approaches to complex problems, and provide practical advice on a range of subjects (Published February 2020).

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Checklist case examples

This case example details the implementation of a surgical safety checklist in practice [PDF 536KB] (Updated March 2019).

This case example shows how one practice implemented a peripheral catheter care checklist, and monitored its use and effectiveness through clinical audit [PDF 662KB] (Published September 2019).

This case example shows how the small animal theatre team at Animal Health Trust have successfully implemented and used a surgical safety checklist to improve patient safety in a number of different theatres and specialities. The theatre team became a Champion Practice in the 2020 Knowledge Awards for their dedication to making the checklist a part of their daily routine [PDF 1293KB] (Published March 2020).

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Checklist templates

The checklists below have been developed by RCVS Knowledge for your use in practice.

You can use this template to help create your own peripheral intravenous catheter care checklist. Feel free to download it and adjust it to your own requirements. Once downloaded, please 'save-as' and re-open from your saved location [Word 144KB] (Updated September 2019).

This peripheral catheter care checklist has been designed in combination with Sarah Hancill RVN and Anne Ward PGCertTLHE DipAVN(Surgical) RVN. It combines a catheter care checklist and the Ward Phlebitis Scoring chart [PDF 662KB] (Updated September 2019).

This surgical safety checklist template has been designed by RCVS Knowledge to help you get started with creating and implementing your own [PDF 56KB] (Updated March 2020).

This surgical safety checklist template has been designed by RCVS Knowledge in a differing format. Checklists can be designed in any way your team feels they will be most beneficial [PDF 446KB] (Updated March 2020).

You can use this checklist when performing a significant event audit to help find any factors that may have led to the event. Once downloaded, please 'save-as' and re-open from your saved location [Word 41KB] (Updated February 2019).

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Checklist examples

The checklists below have been developed by other practices and organisations. They can be used as examples and inspiration for you to develop your own checklists within practice. 

If you have a checklist you would like to share, please send it to

This Anaesthetic Safety Checklist has been developed by the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists with permission to share on this website for use by veterinary professionals [PDF 39KB] (Updated 2020).

These surgical safety checklists include an ophthalmic checklist and have been developed by the team at Animal Health Trust [PDF 973KB] (Updated 2019).

A series of checklist examples from the team at Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic, including a catheter care checklist, pre-surgery checklist and a nurse theatre checklist [PDF 1280KB] (Updated February 2020).

The team at Bright Side vets use an end-of-day cleaning checklist and an in-patient checklist [PDF 1355KB] (Updated March 2019). 

This peripheral IV catheter care checklist is used by the team at Newnham Court Vets [PDF 666KB] (Updated March 2019).

An equine surgical safety checklist used by the team at Rainbow Equine Hospital [PDF 863KB] (Updated March 2020).

A series of checklist examples from the team at Vets Now, including a dystocia checklist and a trauma checklist [PDF 610KB] (Updated July 2018).

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Last updated 22/5/2020