The history of NCEPOD

The principal precursor to NCEPOD was a confidential and anonymous pilot study of mortality associated with anaesthesia (Lunn and Mushin, 1982). This covered inpatients from five regions in England, Wales and Scotland. Its aims were to assess perioperative information in order that the clinical practice of anaesthesia might be improved and to provide comparative figures between regions to facilitate this.

In 1987 a joint venture between surgical and anaesthetic specialties named the Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths (CEPOD) was initiated. This reviewed surgical and anaesthetic practice over one year in three regions. In 1988 the National Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths (NCEPOD) was then established supported by government funding, and its first report was published in 1990.

NCEPOD has moved away from reviewing the care of surgical patients only and now covers all specialties. This is reflected in the wide range of studies currently undertaken and the fact that death is no longer used as the only outcome to identify patients.