Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Deaths from hospital blunders soar 60% in two years as NHS staff 'abandon quality of care to chase targets'

The number of patients killed by hospital blunders has soared by 60 per cent in just two years, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Official records show that 3,645 died as a result of outbreaks of infections, botched operations and other mistakes in 2007/08. That was up from 2,275 two years before.

Critics say quality of NHS care has suffered as doctors and nurses come under pressure to meet Government waiting time targets.

The sharp rise is also down to the fact that more trusts have started to record medical errors - revealing a death toll which in previous years remained hidden under the carpet.

But experts say the true toll is certain to be even higher, because many hospitals still do not record all of the 'patient safety incidents' - meaning that lessons which could have been learned are lost.

In October last year, the Patients Association warned that one in every 300 NHS patients were killed because of medical blunder.

The latest figures, uncovered by the Liberal Democrats, show that 385 died last year due to botched operations and 156 because scans were read wrongly or patients incorrectly diagnosed.

Full article: Mail Online