7 January 2009
Figures obtained from the National Patient Safety Agency
by the Liberal Democrats suggest that more than 3,000 patients died because of errors by NHS staff in the past year. These figures reflect a concern highlighted in the report
on the state of healthcare published by the Healthcare Commission in December 2008. In the report the Commission noted that: "The safety of care is higher up the NHS agenda but trusts are still not doing enough to monitor and learn from incidents and ensure good practice is followed"
In terms of the huge numbers of patients that the NHS treats each year 3000 is a small percentage. However, the each loss will be deeply felt by many family members and friends and each death represents a catastrophic turning point in the lives of families.
Some but by no means all of the deaths may result in a legal case against the NHS. The Healthcare Commission’s report identified a number of areas where patient safety could be improved. These included making safe care the core of the organisation’s activity. The report’s assessments showed that effective systems are not always in place to understand safe care and risk, report and act on individual incidents, and analyse and act on wider lessons. New registration requirements for health and social care should include such systems. The Commission said that organisations still need to do more to encourage a culture of openness in identifying and reporting in the case of untoward events and that more systematic reporting is needed, particularly from GPs.
Clinical negligence lawyers at Leigh Day & Co welcome any moves to improve patient safety and hope that doctors and other medical staff will be prepared to learn from their mistakes in the future in an attempt to drive down these needless deaths.
For more information about a possible clinical negligence claim please contact one of our in-house nurses, Denise McAneny
or Anne McCrea
, for a free initial consultation on 020 7650 1200.
Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.