Number of avoidable deaths is unacceptable - Kirsty Williams

2011 Hydref 19 10:31 AM

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has demanded the Health Minister order an investigation into the high number of NHS patients dying as a result of medical errors.

Recent figures from the National Patient Safety Agency, the body charged with collecting data from LHBs about incidents regarding patients in their care, show that between 1st October 2010 and 31st March 2011, the number of avoidable deaths in the Welsh NHS was over 50.

While LHBs are not required to report incidents, it is strongly advised that they do so that they can learn from errors. Cardiff and Vale and Bestsi Cadwaladr LHBs have the best reporting rates while Powys and Hywel Dda have low reporting levels.

Number of deaths as a result of 'incidents' in each LHB:

PERIOD /LHB

AB

CaV

Cwm Taf

Powys

Hywel Dda

ABM

BC

1st Oct 09 -31st March 2010

4

15

4

1

10

14

22

1st Apr 10 - 30 Sept 2010

5

2

0

1

5

9

8

1st Oct 10 -31st March 2011

14

8

0

(Only 1 'incident' reported)

14

4

11

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Minister said:

"Having more than fifty people dying over such a short period of time due to errors within the NHS is truly shocking.

"This is not the first time we have brought this issue to the attention of the Welsh Government, but still not enough is being done. It is accepted that some patients will die in hospitals, but it is unacceptable that patients die due to hospital error.

"In the last two years, over forty patients have died unnecessarily under the care of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Surely that statistic is alarming enough to warrant an investigation?

"If the LHBs can learn from their mistakes, they can reduce the number of people who die needlessly in our NHS. That is why I support the work of the 1,000 Lives Plus and encourage Local Health Boards to report their incidents so that staff in that organization and across all other LHBs can learn from their mistakes.

"Patient safety and welfare is paramount, which is why I have written to the Health Minister demanding that she looks into this issue with a matter of urgency. This is clearly a systematic problem that the Labour Government needs to address.

"The Health Minister's predecessor refused to look into similar issues in Betsi Cadwaladr a year ago. The Welsh Government should follow their 1000 Lives Plus campaign mantra of report and learn so that similar mistakes don't happen in the future."

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