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Hospitals failing to report incidents

14th September 2011

The chief executive of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents has said many hospitals were not admitting to serious incidents which put patients' lives in danger.

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Peter Walsh said although a law which requires hospitals to report such incidents had been in effect since April last year, many were failing to acknowledge the problems.

Mr Walsh's comments came in response to National Patient Safety Agency figures, which were released on 13 September.

The data revealed that there was an 8.5% increase in the amount of reported incidents in the NHS in England between April-September 2010 and October-March 2011.

Most of the reported incidents caused either "no harm" to patients (69%), "low harm" (24%) or "moderate harm" (6%).

The data showed that 1% of incidents resulted in "death or severe harm" and NHS trusts are legally required to report such incidents.

Mr Walsh said he believed that if all trusts were reporting all incidents then the increase would be even higher.

He said: "Given that there was a new set of rules that came in, in April 2010, that made it a statutory requirement for trusts to report incidents that cause severe harm or death, we would have expected a bigger increase."

"So we think some trusts might be holding back on reporting incidents that caused severe harm."

He added: "We think work is needed looking at why trusts do not seem to be reporting at a rate we would expect." 

 

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