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Rise in serious patient safety incidents


More than 5,000 patients died or were seriously harmed in safety incidents in the six months up to March this year, the latest figures show.

Overall there were 565,153 patient safety incidents from October 1 2010 to March 31 2011, reveal statistics published by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).

This is an increase of 8.5% on the previous six month period.

The majority of incidents – 69% – resulted in no harm to patients. About a quarter resulted in “low harm”, which may have required minor treatment and 6% caused “significant harm”.

In addition, 1% of safety incidents – 5,012 cases – resulted in “severe harm” causing permanent injury or damage, or the death of a patient.

The most common types of incident were slips, trips and falls – 28%. Eleven per cent of cases involved issues with medication and 11% related to treatments and procedures.

Nearly 100% of trusts in England submitted data via the National Reporting and Learning System.

Of those, 70% submitted monthly reports compared to 65% last time.

NPSA chief executive Sarndrah Horsfall urged NHS organisations to use the data and learn from mistakes.

“Identifying patient safety incidents and ensuring they are reported and analysed is at the heart of reducing risk in healthcare,” she said.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Well, it's going to get worse isn't it with the reduction in registered nurse numbers across the country.

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  • Yes it will get worse. And will probably be blamed on nurses. Wards are so short staffed and even when fully staffed trying to observe a wandersome (sometimes more than one) unsteady confused patient who is at risk of falls is impossible whilst trying to juggle numerous other important tasks one of which is administering medication in the chaos. Many patients have high dependancy and the ward establishment for staffing levels seems to have been decided years ago before a nurses role was extended. The report suggests NHS organisations are being urged to learn from their mistakes. Does that mean we will get more staff!!

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  • More staff!! You'll be lucky!! If anything, it will be less staff and more work.

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