More than 15,000 patients suffered potentially avoidable complications in just one month while being cared for in NHS organisations and other healthcare settings, figures suggest.
Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that 15,003 patients suffered pressure ulcers, falls, urinary tract infections or blood clots during April.
Figures from the NHS Safety Thermometer tool showed that 92.1% of almost 190,000 patients who were being treated at 633 organisations in England received “harm-free care”.
But the other 7.9% suffered complications - many of which are avoidable with quality care - including more than 10,000 patients who suffered pressure sores and around 1,900 who fell and hurt themselves.
However, the number of “patient harm” incidents decreased in the last year - in April 2012, 10.3% of patients did not receive “harm-free care”, the HSCIC said.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “It is reassuring that these figures are now available, increasing the transparency within the NHS.
“However, to simply make the figures available is not enough. For one in 10 patients to be suffering unavoidable harm simply is not good enough.
“Our ‘Care’ campaign, which calls for an increased focus on the fundamentals of care, would lead to many of these incidents being avoided. There needs to be a review of all of this new information and action taken to ensure that next year considerably less patients suffer avoidable harm.”
Mike Durkin, director of patient safety at NHS England, said: “It is encouraging to see so many front-line teams using the tool to improve the safety of their services.
“It is also encouraging that these initial results suggest an increase in the number of patients assessed as receiving harm-free care.
“Treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm is one of our priorities and is included in the 11-point scorecard we have set out in our plans for the future of the NHS.
“We believe that collecting meaningful data through comprehensive reporting will help identify areas of good practice as well as highlighting areas where more work needs to be done.”
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