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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Do variations in the theatre team have an impact on the incidence of complications?

Oliver J Baylis, Wendy E Adams, David Allen and Scott G Fraser*

Author Affiliations

The Department of Ophthalmology, Sunderland Eye Infirmary, Queen Alexandra, Road, Sunderland, SR2 9HP, UK

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BMC Ophthalmology 2006, 6:13  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-6-13

Published: 16 March 2006



To examine whether variations in non-medical personnel influence the incidence of complications in a cataract theatre.


A retrospective Case-Control study was undertaken in a single-site, designated cataract theatre. Staffing variations within theatre were examined and the incidence of cataract complications was assessed.


100 complicated lists and 200 uncomplicated control lists were chosen. At least 7 nurses were present for every list. Mean experience of the nurses was 6.4 years for case lists and 6.5 years for control lists. Average scrub nurse experience in years was 7.6 years for complicated lists and 8.0 years for controls. 26% of complicated case lists were affected by unplanned leave and 17% in control lists. Odds ratio 1.7 (1.0 to 3.1) 95% CI.


Unplanned leave can have a detrimental effect on the operating list. The impact of this may be modifiable with careful planning.