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.
The committee also began examining sedation related deaths in NSW from 1 September 2012.
Terms of Reference
The SCIDUA is an expert committee appointed 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.
All SCIDUA members are appointed by the Secretary, NSW Health, under delegation by the Minister for Health. Committee members are appointed for a fixed term of 5 years, at the end of which the Committee advises the Secretary, NSW Health whether their re-appointment is appropriate. In the event of a member resigning, the Committee may recommend a suitable replacement to the Secretary. The Committee elects its own Chairperson, who must be a currently practicing anaesthetist. The Chief Executive, Clinical Excellence Commission serves as an ex-officio member.
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.