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Increase in surgical errors

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The number of NHS patients re-admitted due to surgical errors has increased significantly in England over the last five years, according to latest government figures.

The number of patients who received an ‘unintentional cut, puncture, perforation or haemorrhage’ during surgery increased from 1,487 in 2003-2004 to 2,178 in 2007-2008 – an increase of 47%.

The figures were revealed to the Liberal Democrats in answer to a parliamentary question.

They also reveal that the number of patients being re-admitted after having objects left inside them during medical or surgical care has increased 10% over the last four years, latest figures suggest.

They show the number of incidents of a ‘foreign object accidentally left in body during surgical and medical care’ increased from 125 in 2003-2004 to 141 in 2007-2008.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: ‘These figures raise serious concerns and call into question the Government’s claim to be making patient safety a priority.

‘Many doctors and nurses are under enormous amounts of pressure to meet government targets. We have to ensure that patient safety isn’t being compromised to satisfy the whims of Whitehall,’ he said.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Is there any wonder when there are so many unrealistic government targets, overworked doctors and nurses, trying to fit as much work in, in limited time. Far too many commitments, no surprise this is leading to poorer quality of care.

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