April 17 (UPI) — Around the world, approximately 234 million surgeries take place and many deaths occur during the process.

After the World Health Organization’s Surgical Safety Checklist went into effect in 2018, patient deaths after surgeries fell by a third in Scotland, according to findings published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“This is a significant study that highlights the reduction in surgical mortality over the last decade,” Jason Leitch, National Clinical director in Scotland and study author, said in a news release. “While there are a number of factors that have contributed to this, it is clear from the research that the introduction of the WHO’s Surgical Safety Checklist in 2008 has played a key role.”

The Scottish study followed previous research that looked at the impact of the checklist in hospitals in Canada, India, Jordan, New Zealand, Philippines, Tanzania and Seattle, Washington.

“This decline in mortality had been achieved through the hard work of hundreds of people involved in the project across the NHS in Scotland, delivered under the Scottish Patient Safety Program alongside a number of other surgical safety measures,” Leitch said.

In the United States, the National Institutes of Health estimates that 1.32 percent of patients die each year after surgery. Around the globe, about one million people pass after medical procedures.

“Scotland’s health system is to be congratulated for a multi-year effort that has produced some of the largest population-wide reductions in surgical deaths ever documented,” said Atul Gawande, a researcher at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital who introduced the checklist a decade ago and study co-author.

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