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Crack down on medical errors

15th March 2007

A campaign has been launched to improve patient safety and cut the number of avoidable deaths in the NHS.

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A series of studies have shown patients have a one in 300 chance of dying from a medical blunder, while one in 10 patients are thought to suffer harm due to an error. Each day there are 600 mistakes made in primary care, the majority involving prescriptions.

Avoidable deaths include hospital-acquired infections and deaths in maternity units. The problem is worldwide with the US estimating 15m mistakes are made in hospitals each year.

Now the Healthcare Commission is spearheading a UK drive to put patient safety at the top of the NHS agenda. It will increase pressure on organisations to collect information on medical errors, which should then be analysed, shared and learned from.

The commission will back up its campaign by focusing on hygiene standards to reduce hospital-acquired infections, and close monitoring of the use of controlled drugs and radiation therapy.



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