latest health care news

24.06.14

A fifth of trusts ‘under-reporting’ mistakes – DH

One in five NHS hospital trusts seem to be under-reporting the extent to which patients are experiencing avoidable harm through staff mistakes, the Department of Health (DH) has warned.

In an analysis of incident reporting, the DH has revealed that 29 out of 141 trusts have been under-recording the number of incidents at their organisation.

Only 18% of England’s hospital trusts were deemed to be ‘good’ at reporting errors, 62% ‘okay’ and 20% ‘poor’.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has released that data as part of the DH and NHS England drive to improve safety in the NHS.

In a speech today, Hunt will say that these unreported errors are causing patients and families “immeasurable harm” and costing the health service £800m annually in extra treatment and legal bills.

He will also say: “The NHS is leading the world in achieving new safety standards but the battle to reduce avoidable harm is constant.

“Unsafe care causes immeasurable harm to patients and their families, and also costs the NHS millions in litigation claims.”

Earlier this year, Hunt asked trusts to join the Sign up to Safety campaign and draw up plans to halve “avoidable harm” such as medication errors, blood clots and bedsores by 2016-17.

Today the government will go one step further with the campaign by launching a website –hosted on the NHS Choices site – which will allow patients to view the performance of individual hospitals on measures such as safe staffing levels and infection rates.

It will also reveal which trusts have been given a poor rating for open and honest reporting. This has been decided after reviewing the way trusts report safety incidents into the National Report and Learning System. The site goes live this afternoon.

Sir David Dalton, chief executive of Salford Royal Hospital and leader of the Sign up to Safety, said: “Healthcare carries inherent risk and while healthcare professionals work hard every day to reduce this risk every day, harm still happens.

“Some is unavoidable but most isn't. Sign up to Safety seeks to reduce this harm and is a unique opportunity for us all to work together to listen, learn and act to make a difference.”

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