Wednesday, 8 July 2009

10% of NHS patients admitted to hospital “suffer some form of harm”

A committee of MPs has called for urgent action on patient safety in the NHS. The Health Committee said services “are not safe enough yet.” Chairman of the Committee, Kevin Barron MP, said:

"Reviews of patients’ case notes indicates that in the NHS and in other healthcare systems as many as 10% of patients admitted to hospital suffer some form of harm, much of which is avoidable.

Tens of thousands of patients suffer unnecessary harm each year and there is a huge cost to the NHS in consequence.

Judging the overall effectiveness of patient safety policy is made difficult because of the failure by the Department of Health (DH) to collect adequate data."
Failure by the DH? Quelle surprise.

And walking hand in hand with harm in our litigious age is, of course, costly compensation.

The committee said that harmed patients and their families or carers are entitled to receive information, an explanation, an apology and an undertaking that the harm will not be repeated.

“Too often, however, this does not occur.

Harmed patients are currently forced to endure often lengthy and distressing litigation to obtain justice and compensation.

At the same time, NHS organisations are obliged to spend considerable sums on legal costs and are encouraged to be defensive when harm occurs.

Three years ago, Parliament passed the legislation which enabled the DH to introduce an NHS Redress Scheme, which would change this situation, removing the need for litigation in many cases.

However, the DH still has not implemented the Redress Scheme and has no timetable for doing so, which we find appalling.”
One must wonder what the DH have been spending their time and money on which would preclude both reducing errors, and working to cut the £100m per annum spent on lawyers suing the NHS. The incredible amount of advertising in all forms of the media, placed by the DH, might give you a clue.



TheFatBigot said...

Is it known how this compares to private hospitals?

Dick Puddlecote said...

It would be interesting to know that TFB. Also to know how they avoid costly litigation, which I'd expect they probably do very well.