NHS England reports rise in patient safety incidents

Data collected by acute hospitals, mental health services, community trusts, ambulance services and primary care organisations have shown that patient safety incidents rose 6.4% on the previous six-month period. In the six months from October 2012 to March 2013, 683,883 incidents were reported to the system.

NHS centres report incidents in which any patient could have been harmed or has suffered any level of harm, enabling clinicians to learn about why patient safety incidents happen, so that they can act to prevent their own patients being placed at similar risks.

Data published today on the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) website shows that:

  • 68% of incidents reported caused no harm
  • 25.1% caused low harm, meaning the patient required only increased observation or minor treatment
  • 6.1% were recorded as causing medium harm, meaning that the patient suffered significant but not permanent harm, requiring increased treatment

The top four reported types of incident remained the same:

  • Patient accidents (23.5%)
  • Implementation of care and ongoing monitoring/review incidents (11.8%)
  • Treatment/procedure incidents (10.4%)
  • Medication incidents (10.3%).

Clinicians in NHS England review all incidents resulting in severe harm and death and have observed that the accuracy of reporting is improving.

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