A National Audit office report suggests that the NHS does not know how many deaths are caused by patient safety incidents.

The figure is thought to be between 2,181 and 34,000 a year, but ultimately nobody knows for certain because the data is not being collected.

This worrying revelation was recently highlighted in an article by Helen Blundell, Legal Services Manager at the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

She highlights how the NHS is failing to learn from mistakes – often because when something goes wrong the NHS will deny any fault, meaning problems are not being acknowledged and resolved.  

Consequently the standard of NHS care has not improved, as evidenced by the fact that the same number of babies are sustaining brain damage during birth as they were in 2006.

Neglecting to collect data on patient safety deaths is part of this refusal to react to mistakes.

The report found there was “no systematic pattern as to how Trusts determined what incidents required a detailed investigation.”

In her article, Helen Blundell estimates that even if the lower figure of 2,181 deaths caused by patient safety incidents is correct, that is the equivalent of 5.9 wrongful deaths every day.

She writes: “Imagine if any other industry was allowed to continue to kill and injure its customers and get away with it on a similar scale: there would be an international outcry.”

“It is intolerable that the NHS is allowed to continue to operate with this degree of death and injury and high time it took urgent action to change.”

Expert legal advice

For information on pursuing a medical negligence claim, please get in touch with us at Glynns Solicitors.

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