This article reflects the conversations in the breakout group on this topic at the Recently Appointed Consultants symposium on Thursday 5 June 2014.


It is important to ensure a safe and effective handover. Dedicated time with a clear structure should be provided for each handover. Time to do this should be integrated into the job plan. Information should be given personally on each occasion. Training should be offered to all staff in order to embed good practice.

Both paper and IT methods are valid and useful. Electronic handovers are popular but so is the use of SBAR (Situation – Background – Assessment – Recommendation). SBAR is an NHS tool consisting of standardised questions within four sections. It is especially useful in an acute system. Good practice and methods should be shared throughout the UK.


Breakout group leader: Dr Ailsa Howie, Consultant in Acute Medicine, SPSP Fellow and Clinical Lead for Handover Education for NHS Education Scotland

Reviewed January 2017, January 2018, September 2021