Background music during surgery 'can distract operating theatre teams'

Medical Government/ NHS related news

A new study has indicated that the practice of playing background music during surgery can be a distraction for some operating theatre teams.

The Imperial College London research used video technology to see how music impacted on nursing and theatre staff during 20 real-time surgical operations, with video recordings used to gain insight into the verbal and nonverbal communications taking place.

“A new UK study has indicated that some operating theatre teams are negatively affected by background music during surgery.“

It was indicated that communication within the theatre team can be impaired when music is playing, with requests from surgeons to nurses for instruments or supplies often needing to be repeated.

Moreover, there was evidence of frustration or tension within some of the teams, with senior medics making decisions about what music should be played, making it hard for junior staff and nurses to speak up if they were unhappy.

Sharon-Marie Weldon, a lead author of the study from the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London, said: "We'd like to see a more considered approach, with much more discussion or negotiation over whether music is played, the type of music and volume within the operating teams."

The Royal College of Surgeons has responded to the report by noting it was a small study, while expressing doubt that this is a widespread problem within the NHS.

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