Patient safety in the Press……

Two newspaper stories relating to patient safety are worthy of reporting.

In the first, the Mirror newspaper has published a (‘sensationalist’?) story titled NHS cost cutting caused over 2,000 ‘serious’ errors last year alone.

The Mirror sent Freedom of Information requests for information on “serious untoward incidents” to all 172 trusts and received responses from 97.  Incidents reported to the Mirror included:

– a tube that was helping the patient breathe dislodged, causing a fatal heart attack
– a chest drain being inserted to relieve pressure on the lungs pierced the heart with horrific consequences
–  death of a patient given the wrong medication 
– missed diagnosis of meningitis led to a child’s death at a hospital
– at another hospital, 23 patients died of C.diff.
– five babies on a neo-natal unit contracted MRSA
– A swab was left inside a patient’s abdomen after a caesarean

The Mirror has produced a ‘glossy’ poster detailing the breakdown of of incidents reported to them by region.

Read the full story and download the poster here.

The second story is, in the opinion of Healthcare Governance Review, one that demonstrates responsible newspaper reporting.

Carlisle-based News & Star is an award-winning local newspaper serving North Cumbria.

On 27 March the newspaper ran a story titled “Trust has great safety record.” The story relates to the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, which reported incidents to the National Patient Safety Agency within an average of 12 days, when the national average was 57 days. It’s refreshing to see a newspaper taking a positive view of a hospital that is reporting negative patient safety incidents!

Read the News & Star article here.

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