The NHS in England and Wales is in line with the health services of other European countries in regard to the number of patients affected by mistakes, a health watchdog has said.
A database used by staff to report errors and “near misses” shows the vast majority of incidents result in low or no harm to patients, according to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).
Between April 2007 and March 2008, of the 855,845 incidents reported to the NPSA database by NHS staff, 792,498 (93%) resulted in low or no harm and 59,773 (6.9%) resulted in moderate or severe harm, it said.
A total of 3,471 (0.4%) resulted in death – a figures comparable with that from other countries, according to the NPSA.
The agency runs the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) in England and Wales, which allows staff to report on incidents, including those related to medicines, surgery, medical devices, mental health and other aspects of delivering NHS care.
According to the NPSA, around 1,500 incidents are reviewed every month and safety alerts issued if needed.
Copyright Press Association 2008