Increase in number of avoidable deaths and ‘severe’ accidents in Welsh NHS unacceptable – Kirsty Williams

2012 Rhagfyr 4 12:19 PM

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has demanded the Health Minister order an investigation into the increasing number of NHS patients suffering 'severe degree of harm' and 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 April 2011 and 30th September 2011, and 1st October 2011 and 31st March 2012, the number of patients 'suffering severe degree of harm' and dying has increased in the recent 6 month reporting cycle.

Kirsty Williams AM commented:

"Every time we reveal the figures about patient safety incident reports, I am shocked at the number of people who die and suffer through accidents in the NHS. People are dying and needlessly suffering in the Welsh NHS and I am very concerned that the Health Minister is doing little about it.

"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.

"Systems are in place to ensure that accidents and 'incidents' are reduced in the NHS but I am concerned that our NHS is not acting on the reporting systems that are in place. It is also of concern that some LHBs do not report incidents to the relevant body as there are substantial variances in the reporting rates between the Welsh LHBs. If they don't report incidents, then procedures won't be in place to ensure that those accidents and 'incidents' happen again

"Patient safety and welfare is paramount, which is why I am calling on the Health Minister to investigate why the number of people suffering from NHS accidents and 'incidents' has increased from the last six month reporting period."

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