Patient safety at risk after number of medication errors doubles in two years By Daniel Martin
UPDATED: 08:33, 4 September 2009
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Mistakes included giving patients the wrong dose of a drug or giving medicine to the wrong patient
Patient safety is being put at risk because of medication errors which have more than doubled in two years, a report has shown. More than 86,000 mistakes including drugs being given to the wrong person or the wrong dose being administered were recorded in a year. But the safety watchdog said it believed fewer than 10 per cent of errors were being reported by the NHS, meaning the true figure was probably close to one million. The report from the National Patient Safety Agency found there had been a 'significant' rise from 36,335 reported incidents in 2005 to 64,678 in 2006 and 86,085 in 2007. Recent examples include an anti-coagulant drug being given to someone with a similar name to the patient who needed it, a strong sedative instead of insulin being injected into a patient and heart medicine given instead of an anti-inflammatory. One patient received 100mg of morphine instead of 10mg - putting them at risk of severe respiratory failure. Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'Claims for damages cost the NHS nearly £1billion per year, which could be spent on patient care. 'In an organisation the size of the NHS there are always going be some accidents, but we have to ensure that robust systems are in place that minimise risks and prioritise patient safety. 'The fact that some errors are being made over and over again needs to be looked at much more closely.' The report listed the five most common errors as the wrong dose, medicines being missed or delayed, the wrong drug, the wrong quantity and mismatching, where patient A's medicine is given to patient B. In total, 2,810 errors resulted in death or a stay in hospital - 234 every month....
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