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We conducted an online survey to assess the career experiences of wrong side blocks, the practice of Stop-Before-You-Block, the recently described method of Mock-Before-You-Block and attitudes to these. Respondents were 208 anaesthetists across nine hospitals (173 consultants or Staff and Associate Specialist doctors'), representing 3623 years of collective anaesthetic practice. There had been a total of 62 wrong side blocks (by 51 anaesthetists and one current trainee). Predisposing factors for this were commonly ascribed to distractions (35 (69%), for example due to rushing or teaching), patient positioning (9 (18%)) or miscommunication (6 (12%)). Two (4%) respondents felt they had performed Stop-Before-You-Block too early; 62 (41%) of all respondents stated they performed Stop-Before-You-Block as early as preparing the skin or on arrival of the patient in the anaesthetic room, and not any later. Twenty (10%) respondents admitted to not performing Stop-Before-You-Block at all or only occasionally (including 5 (2%) who had performed a wrong side block). Mock-Before-You-Block was easily understood (by 169 out of 197 (86%)) and 14 out of 61 (23%) respondents felt it would have prevented the wrong side error in their case. However, free-text comments indicated that many anaesthetists were reluctant to use a method that interrupted their performance of the block. We conclude that considerable work is needed to achieve full compliance with Stop-Before-You-Block at the correct time.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





421 - 427


Never Events, human factors, patient safety, regional anaesthesia