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Wrong patients given x-rays, report shows

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More than 300 NHS patients were exposed to the wrong dose of ionising radiation over a 14-month period, according to a monitoring programme set up by the government’s hospital watchdog.
The Healthcare Commission’s report under the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 showed there were 329 incidents of wrong dosage between 1 November 2006 and December 2007.

The biggest cause of wrong dosage, accounting for a third of cases, was conducting an x-ray or other diagnostic procedure on the wrong patient.

However the report went on to add that most of the mistakes caused a very low dosage of radiation exposure.

The number of incidents represent less than 1 in every 88,000 procedures, the report said.

Healthcare commission chief executive Anna Walker said: ‘Following an assessment of risk based on a range of data, we will be contacting organisations to ensure they have proper systems in place for reporting when things go wrong and learning from mistakes.’
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