The Special Committee Investigating Deaths Under Anaesthesia (SCIDUA) is an expert committee appointed by the Minister for Health under Section 20 of the NSW Health Administration Act 1982.
Established in 1960, the SCIDUA is the longest serving committee of its kind in the world, and has contributed to the impressive reduction in mortality attributable to anaesthesia in Australia.
Since its inception, SCIDUA has received notification of more than 10,000 deaths. In the overwhelming majority of these cases (approximately 95%), investigations reveal that the death was not in any way attributable to the anaesthesia.
From 01 September 2012 the committee will begin examining sedation related deaths in NSW.
The Special Committee Investigating Deaths Under Anaesthesia (SCIDUA) is an expert committee appointed by the Minister for Health. Its Terms of Reference PDF ~12kb are to subject all deaths occurring while under, as a result of, or within 24 hours after the administration of anaesthesia or sedation to peer review so as to identify any areas of clinical management where alternative methods could have led to a more favourable result.
Committee members PDF ~131kb are appointed for a fixed term of 5 years, at the end of which time the Committee advises the Minister whether their re-appointment is appropriate. In the event of a member vacancy the Committee may recommend a suitable replacement to the Minister. The Minister may also appoint a member who is a Departmental or Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) representative. The Committee elects its own Chairperson, who must be a currently practicing anaesthetist.
The Committee tries to ensure that anaesthetists from a broad range of clinical specialties and professional organisations are represented. Nominations for membership come to the Committee from the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA), and academic Departments of Anaesthetics. Currently there is also a Consultant Forensic Pathologist on the Committee to help review autopsy findings.
From 01 September 2012, the NSW Public Health Act 2010 requires the health practitioner who is responsible for the administration of the anaesthetic or sedative drug, where the patient died while under, or as a result of, or within 24 hours after the administration of an anaesthetic or sedative drug for a medical, surgical or dental operation or procedure, to report the death to the Director General via the SCIDUA.
Health practitioners can notify the death by:
1. Completing the State form ( SMR010511: Report of Death Associated with Anaesthesia/Sedation form ) and mailing it to:
C/o Special Committee Investigating Deaths Under Anaesthesia
Clinical Excellence Commission
Locked Bag A4062
SYDNEY SOUTH NSW 1235
This State form can be ordered from Salmat (Ph: 02 9311 9999 or www.salmat.com.au). They should be made available at the Department of Anaesthesia at each hospital.
2. The completed form can also be scanned and emailed to: email@example.com
3. An Online Notification System is being developed
The Committee's documents are privileged from subpoena under Section 23 of the NSW Health Administration Act 1982. All communications between the reporting anaesthetist and the Committee is strictly confidential.
All reported deaths are individually reviewed by the 2 or 3 member triage sub-Committee, which can either classify the death as due to factors not falling under the control of the health practitioner or request further information from the reporting health practitioner, using the SCIDUA questionnaire.
When the questionnaire is returned, information in this document is de-identified, copied and distributed to members of the Committee prior to its meetings. Cases are discussed at each meeting and classified using the nationally recognized Anaesthetic Mortality Classification.
A confidential reply by the Chair is sent to the health practitioner explaining the Committee's decision. The Committee reports annually to the Minister on the results of its deliberations. The Committee also provides aggregate data to the National Committee on Anaesthetic Mortality, triennially.
SCIDUA communicates with its key stakeholders as follows:
- Each individual health practitioner who provides information to the Committee on the SCIDUA questionnaire receives a letter from the Chairperson
- An annual report for the preceding calendar year is provided to the Minister.
- The Committee provides data to the ANZCA Mortality Working Group, which produces the triennial report of ˜Safety of Anaesthesia: A review of anaesthesia related mortality reporting in Australia and New Zealand.
- Periodically, the Committee submits reports to peer-reviewed journals in which trends in anaesthesia-related mortality are described. These reports reach a wide range of anaesthetists in Australia, New Zealand and internationally.
Note: All of the Committee's proceedings, documents and correspondence are protected under Section 23 of the Health Administration Act 1982.
- SCIDUA Form of Notification (FoN) - PDF ~152kb
- SCIDUA Questionnaire (for further detailed reporting) - PDF ~116kb
- Flowchart explaining the reporting of deaths to SCIDUA and Coroner - PDF ~24kb
- SCIDUA Committee Terms of Reference - PDF ~12kb
- SCIDUA Committee membership & credentials - PDF ~131kb
- SCIDUA Glossary of Terms - Case classification - PDF ~24kb
- Activities of the Special Committee Investigating Deaths Under Anaesthesia, 2011 - 2012 - PDF ~432kb
- 2010 Annual Report - PDF ~489kb
- 2009 Annual Report - PDF ~660kb
- 2008 Annual Report - PDF ~156kb
- 2007 Annual Report - PDF ~64kb
- Activities of the SCIDUA 2000-2003 - PDF ~992kb
Please direct your queries and correspondence to:
SCIDUA Secretariat, Special Committees.
Clinical Excellence Commission
Locked Bag A4062
Sydney South NSW 1235
Phone: (02) 9269 5530 Fax: (02) 9269 5599