Advising with empathy and experience

Lives lost to medical errors.


Government figures reported in the Sunday Express have revealed that more than 300 patients are dying each month because of medical errors.

Detailed figures from the NHS England showed that of 683,883 cases reported during the six months from October 2012 to March 2013 1,834 patients died. A total of 3,479 suffered severe injury due to clinical mistakes or failings and more than 40,000 suffered impermanent injury. A further 470,000 were put at risk but suffered no harm.

The new figures represent a 6.4% increase on the same period the previous year, when there were 665,859 cases, including 1,593 deaths. Peter Walsh, chief executive of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents said: "These figures are terrible and show four years after Stafford the NHS has still got a long way to go in protecting its patients from error."

Speaking of the figures Kim Daniells of the CNCI team said "the statistics are shocking in themselves. It is important to remember that each recorded incident may represent a difficult and deeply distressing event for patients, families and, in many cases, the clinician involved. Fortunately the chance of suffering harm as a result of medical error remains low. This is testament to the skill and dedication of medical professionals.

"It is crucial that where problems occur, the NHS deals with them in an open, honest and compassionate way and that it learns from the errors."

 Dr Mike Durkin, NHS England's national director of patient safety, claimed that the chances of a patient coming to serious harm or dying while being treated by the NHS were "tiny".