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More than one million surgical procedures were performed annually in Canada between 2004 and 2013. The Canadian healthcare system strives to provide safe care, but patient safety incidents still occur, with over half attributed to surgical care. Safe surgical care requires that physicians and healthcare teams use appropriate tools and contribute to system improvements within a complex professional environment.

The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), which provides medical liability protection for most Canadian physicians, and the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC), which provides liability insurance for healthcare organizations and their employees, have collaborated to conduct a retrospective analysis of Canadian surgical safety incident data. This analysis of medico-legal data advances knowledge in patient safety concepts, and is intended to lead to system and practice improvements. This analysis was undertaken as part of the Surgical Care Safety Action Plan.

A summary of the results and recommendations can be found in the summary report: Surgical Safety in Canada: A 10-year review of CMPA and HIROC medico-legal data. A deep dive into the methods, limitations and the results can be found in the Detailed Analysis report.