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Only a minority of serious patient safety incidents are reported, MPs hear

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2384 (Published 05 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2384
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1Margate

    Only 5-10% of serious incidents in the NHS with the potential to compromise patients’ safety are actually reported, MPs have been told.

    Witnesses giving evidence to MPs on the parliamentary health select committee last week admitted that under-reporting of patient safety incidents was significant but defended the system.

    Committee members, who were taking evidence for their inquiry into patient safety, asked witnesses from the Department of Health and the National Patient Safety Agency how much harm the NHS did to patients.

    Martin Fletcher, the agency’s chief executive, said that statistics from his organisation’s national reporting and learning system (covering England and Wales) for 2007-8 showed that 796 142 patient safety incidents were reported by staff, most of which (583 000) came from the acute …

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