Mistakes within the NHS
2 March 2018 by Rhian Lowe
Unfortunately, mistakes within the NHS are something we see too often.
What have recent reports shown?
Recent reports have shown that errors involving dispensed medicines kill up to 22,300 patients a year.
A study ordered by the government has found that NHS staff make 237 million drugs errors every year, more than a quarter of which injure patients.
Doctors prescribing the wrong dose, pharmacists handing out the wrong medicine, and nurses mixing up patients are just a few of the causes.
Research found that two-thirds of hospitals and some GPs still write paper prescriptions which means illegible handwriting is also a huge problem.
About one in 12 prescriptions are thought to contain an error and the World Health Organisation has said that such mistakes are a leading cause of death during treatment.
In a recent speech at the Patient Safety Conference in London, Jeremy Hunt stated that: “This new study shows medication error in the NHS and globally is a far bigger problem than generally recognised, causing appalling levels of harm and death that are totally preventable.”
He went on to say “It can’t be right that hospitals are recording vital information like prescriptions using pen and paper, yet only one-third of trusts use e-prescribing effectively, despite these systems halving the risk of error,”
An overview of 36 studies by researchers at the University of York, Sheffield, and Manchester found that more than half of prescription mistakes happen when drugs are given, and a fifth when prescriptions are written. Their model suggests that errors definitely kill 1,700 patients a year and probably play a role in a total 22,300 deaths.