AVSTS autumn meeting 2018 - “Avoiding Complications”


On the 12th-13th October delegates gathered at the Hilton City Centre in Liverpool for two days of talks, panel discussions and workshops focussed on prevention of and dealing with surgical errors, generously supported by DVH Veterinary Sales, Freelance Surgical Ltd, H&R Healthcare and Veterinary Instrumentation.


Day one began with a typically humorous and entertaining talk from Dr Mickey Tivers on what vets can learn from our human surgical colleagues about improving patient safety, emphasising the positive role of implementing excellence reporting alongside error reporting and discussing ways we can remove cognitive biases from our clinical decision-making. Next, Dr Tierney Kinnison delivered two sessions on team working focussed on what makes a good inter-professional team and how things can go wrong when teamwork breaks down. Professor Stephen Baines then gave an update on the current status of the AVSTS Research Cooperative (ARC), covering current and future projects and encouraging all members of the society, specialist and non-specialist alike, to think of and submit ideas for future studies to what is a potentially very powerful forum for organising meaningful clinical research. Anyone interested in joining ARC and finding out more about soft tissue surgery research can contact Stephen at After lunch a lively panel discussion of difficult surgical cases ensued, with plenty of interaction between the panel and delegates. The day was rounded off by Dr Catherine Oxtoby discussing error reporting (including the VDS VetSafe initiative) and significant event analysis, after which delegates relaxed at the conference drinks reception and dinner.


Professor John Williams and Mickey Tivers started day two by outlining the potential good and bad points of checklist use in veterinary practice, the history of checklist use and tips for their effective implementation. They were followed by Catherine Oxtoby discussing potential causes of human error and, with the assistance of Tierney Kinnison, leading a workshop where delegates had the opportunity to try out root cause analysis for themselves. John Williams then drew day two to a close with some great tips on performing effective clinical audit.


One of the best parts of the meeting was the interaction between the delegates and speakers, which led to a lot of interesting discussion and sharing of experiences. The whole meeting had a very positive atmosphere and delivered the important message that, as has been found in industries as diverse as aviation, oil drilling and human surgery, there are many contributors to any error that need to be picked apart and dealt with rather than blaming individuals. AVSTS would like to thank all our delegates, speakers and sponsors for their contributions to a great meeting. AVSTS welcomes anyone with an interest in soft tissue surgery