Key messages

  • The Victorian Audit of Surgical Mortality (VASM) is a systematic peer-review audit of deaths associated with surgical care.
  • The VASM program is undertaken through the Victorian office of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Overview

The Victorian Audit of Surgical Mortality (VASM) is a systematic peer-review audit of deaths associated with surgical care. The VASM program is undertaken through the Victorian office of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

VASM is similar to audits of surgical mortality being established in other Australian states and territories and is part of the Australian and New Zealand Audit of Surgical Mortality (ANZASM), a bi-national network of regionally based audits of surgical mortality.

Objective

The objective of the audit is peer review of all surgical deaths:

  • all deaths that occur in hospital following a surgical procedure
  • deaths that occur in hospital while under the care of a surgeon, even though no procedure was performed.

Audit process

The audit process is designed to highlight system and process errors. It is intended as an educational rather than a punitive exercise.

In Victoria, VASM works closely with the Victorian Surgical Consultative Council (VSCC). The VSCC was established in 2001 to review causes of avoidable mortality and morbidity associated with surgery and to provide feedback to the medical profession on any systemic issues identified.

VSCC’s role in VASM is to review trends in surgical mortality and assist with the development of processes to enable the surgical community and healthcare providers to address system issues.

More information

More detailed information about VASM is available at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ VASM webpage.