New figures showing that over 800,000 mistakes made by NHS staff that affected patients are “in line” with other countries.
The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) said that the vast majority of errors were “near misses”, but 3,471 of the 855,845 mistakes resulted in death.
Between April 2007 and March 2008, 792,498 mistakes resulted in low or no harm to patients, while 59,773 resulted in “moderate or severe harm”.
The NPSA runs the National Reporting and Learning System in England and Wales, which allows staff to report on incidents that have occurred while delivering care in the NHS.
Around 1,500 incidents are reviewed every month by the agency, and safety alerts issued “if needed”.
In 2006, the Public Accounts Committee said that NHS staff did not report all mistakes, quoting figures that showed nearly a quarter of incidents and 39% of near misses go unreported, with doctors being the least likely to report.
The committee also said the NPSA failed to provide enough advice to the NHS on improving safety.
Copyright Press Association 2008