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NHS still missing safety alerts

22nd February 2011

Campaigners have warned that the health service is not picking up on safety alerts involving patients in England.

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Alerts are given out when a potential issue that could harm patient health is identified, such as the danger of drug overdoses or problems with medical equipment.

Information from the Department of Health showed there were more than 650 cases where NHS trusts did not comply with the alerts before the deadline.

Although this represented a fall of half since August 2010, Action on Medical Accidents warned that this should not be a reason for trusts failing to meet deadlines.

The charity first drew attention to the problem last year when it was given the figures as part of a freedom of information request.

However, now the government has begun to publish the data on its own accord.

The most recent figures showed there were 654 cases of alerts which had not been handled within the set deadline.

The data showed that 203 trusts had not complied with one alert, while five trusts had not dealt with 10 or more alerts.

Peter Walsh, chief executive of Action against Medical Accidents, said: "There can be no excuse for not implementing these alerts. Each alert not complied with means patients are being put at unnecessary risk. Lives are being lost as a result."

He added: "We welcome the fact that as a result of the pressure we have brought to bear, there has been a significant improvement in compliance."

 

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