Intended for healthcare professionals

Dr Foster's Case Notes

How often are adverse events reported in English hospital statistics?

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 12 August 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:369

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Paul Aylin,
  2. Shivani Tanna,
  3. Alex Bottle,
  4. Brian Jarman
  1. Dr Foster Unit, Imperial College

    About 850 000 medical errors occur in NHS hospitals every year, resulting in 40 000 deaths.w1In the United Kingdom, the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) was created to learn from patient safety incidents occurring in the NHS.w2 In February 2004, it launched a new patient reporting system, drawing together reports of patient safety errors and systems failures provided by health professionals across England and Wales.w3 An adverse event can be defined as “an unintended injury caused by medical management rather than a disease process, resulting in death, life threatening illness, disability at the time of discharge, admission to hospital, or prolongation of hospital stay.” w4 A medical or surgical misadventure is an adverse event that might have been avoided if the patient had received ordinary standards of care. We look at four years of …

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