Minimum Standards for Safe Procedural Sedation


To support the safe provision of procedural sedation (in non-operating-theatre settings) across NSW public hospitals, ensuring all clinicians who provide sedation have the necessary skills, and access to appropriate training/resources.


  • A consistent approach for procedural sedation across NSW, Local Health Districts (LHDs) and hospitals; 
  • Appropriate skills and training for all clinicians who provide or support sedation;
  • Adequate support and resources for all sedation sites; 
  • Address unwarranted clinical variation to prevent adverse events and poor patient-outcomes; 
  • Improved experience for patients through effective sedation use.


Sedation is part of a continuum of decreasing levels of consciousness, caused by the effect of sedative medications on the brain. With increasing doses, the parts of the brain that control the heart and breathing are depressed and in some patients, breathing and blood pressure may be adversely affected.

The use of procedural sedation is increasing as more procedures are moved outside of the operating theatre. In NSW public hospitals last year, there were over 300,000 episodes of procedural sedation undertaken across a number of specialty areas.

Whilst some services have well-developed local sedation policies and processes, there is no consistent approach across the state, LHDs or hospitals. The aim of this project is to develop minimum standards for sedation care for those (non-operating-theatre) services where sedation is provided. 

This project is being led by the Anaesthesia Perioperative Care Network and had two phases:

The ACI is now supporting LHDs with local implementation of the Minimum Standards. 



Key Dates

Pilot Sites

Implementation Sites


Related Initiatives

Further Details


Ellen Rawstron
Manager, Anaesthesia Perioperative Care Network
02 9464 4641 | 0400 304 090

Donald MacLellan
Director, Surgery, Anaesthesia and Critical Care
02 9464 4604

Page Top | Added: 11 November 2013 | Last modified: 21 August 2015

Ellen Rawstron
Manager, Anaesthesia Perioperative Care Network
02 9464 4641 | 0400 304 090