A review of 1,014 medical and nursing records was carried out at two acute hospitals in the London area.
In all, 110 (10.8%) patients experienced an adverse event, with an overall 11.7% rate of adverse events when multiple adverse events were included. About half of these events were judged preventable with ordinary standards of care. A third of these events led to moderate or greater disability or death.
Some adverse events are serious, and are traumatic for both staff and patients. Others are frequent minor events that go unnoticed in routine clinical care, and yet together have massive economic consequences, explain the authors.
These results suggest that adverse events are a serious source of harm to patients and could cost the NHS around £1 billion a year in 3 million extra bed days, they conclude.
|10.8% of patients experience adverse events,
and half may be preventable.|
The need to put in place a national system for recording adverse events is highlighted by Professor George Alberti, President of the Royal College of Physicians in an accompanying editorial.
"Only then will we really learn and improve our practice to the ultimate benefit of the public," he writes.