NHS safety drive reveals one in 13 patients suffers avoidable illness or injury

one in 13 patients treated in hospitals and care homes suffers preventable complications from common ailments, pioneering safety figures have revealed.

The new NHS Safety Thermometer shows around eight per cent of NHS patients treated in both NHS and private hospitals, care and nursing homes and in their own homes suffer avoidable problems including pressure ulcers, falls, infections from treatment or blood clots.

Figures for the 13 months to April covering two million patients, which was published yesterday for the first time, show more than five per cent developed pressure ulcers, around one in 100 patients suffered a fall which left them injured, around one in 100 with catheters caught a urinary tract infection and around one in 200 developed a blood clot.

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The analysis by the Health and Social Care Information Centre has been developed as part of a wider programme of work to improve patient safety.

It has been backed by Prime Minister David Cameron as part of efforts to help nurses provide better frontline care. It records harm to patients at the frontline and gives teams immediate information to monitor performance.

All four measures have been selected because they cause common problems and are largely preventable through better care.

Six hundred providers of care are now recording measurements in surveys carried out on one day each month.

Last month nearly 190,000 assessments – around half from hospitals – were submitted, more than double the number 12 months earlier.

In total 92.1 per cent of people received harm-free care.

Information centre chief executive Alan Perkins said: “The NHS Safety Thermometer is ground breaking in that it looks at patient care across a broad range of settings. Today’s report reflects the first year’s findings of this innovative tool, and it is promising to see that participation has doubled since the tool was launched. I would actively encourage care providers to participate.”

He added: “Such high-quality information is vital in giving providers an accurate local picture to help deliver better care, better services and better outcomes for patients.”

Katherine Murphy of the Patients Association, said: “For one in 10 patients to be suffering unavoidable harm simply is not good enough.”