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Serious safety incidents made public in Scotland


Reports of serious incidents that occurred in Scottish hospitals have been made public for the first time.

All NHS boards in Scotland were required to release the information, which covers a total of 345 serious incidents including 105 deaths.

One person was “blown up” during oxygen therapy, patients became ill or died after being given the wrong doses of medicine and in other cases there was an absence of drug supplies or emergency treatment needed by patients.

An investigation into the incidents has been carried out by BBC Scotland for a programme called How Safe Is Your Hospital?, with the programme makers having obtained information showing the financial cost of the mistakes to the NHS.

The Scottish NHS has paid out more than £120m in compensation and legal expenses over the past three years, the probe discovered.

There were massive variations between different boards as to the number of cases reported and what kind of investigations were carried out.

Greater Glasgow, as the biggest health board, reported a relatively small number of incidents at 95, in comparison to Shetland’s 138 serious incidents this year.

Incidents like a nurse being injured while putting up Christmas decorations and a toaster being used in the wrong area were included in some reports, alongside incidents such as a baby having died in labour and a surgeon removing a healthy organ.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Jim Martin has called for the introduction of a national reporting system for serious incidents in hospitals.


Readers' comments (2)

  • Are we more open in E&W?

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  • From the USA, I am a Registered Nurse and we have seen the same patient safety incidents here. Glad to see that there is a call for a national reporting system. What seems to work best here is a no fault system, that looks to the root cause and not the "blame a person" method.
    Julie Lasics Parker RN JD CHPN

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