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Patient safety

The latest patient safety related news

Highlighting learning from practitioners and research from human factors in health care.

Follow this theme to discover what patient safety means as a practice. We share learning from practitioners, and researchers and findings from the developing field of human factors in health care.

Patient safety


Computerized Provider Order Entry

A study of inpatient medication errors found that approximately 90% occurred at either the ordering or transcribing stage. These errors had a variety of causes, including poor handwriting, ambiguous abbreviations, or simple lack of knowledge on the part of the ordering clinician. A CPOE system can prevent errors at the ordering and transcribing stages by (at a minimum) ensuring standardized, legible, and complete orders. (American)

BBC News

A&E waits at worst level for 15 years

A&E waits in England have reached their worst level since the four-hour target was introduced in 2004. The deterioration in performance came after hospitals appeared to be coping well in the early part of winter. During January, just 84.4% of patients were treated or admitted in four hours - well below the 95% threshold. It means nearly 330,000 patients waited longer than they should with hospitals reporting significant problems finding beds for those needing to be kept in.

BMJ Quality and Safety

A qualitative positive deviance study to explore exceptionally safe care on medical wards for older people

This study exemplifies that there are no ‘silver bullets’ to achieving exceptionally safe patient care on medical wards for older people. Healthcare leaders should encourage truly integrated multidisciplinary ward teams where staff know each other well and work as a team. Focusing on these underpinning characteristics may facilitate exceptional performances across a broad range of safety outcomes.

Competition and Markets Authority

Does hospital competition reduce rates of patient harm in the English NHS?

This research tests the impact of variation in concentration on a new quality indicator: the prevalence of patient harm from falls, pressure ulcers, blood clots and urinary tract infections. It finds that hospital mergers in concentrated areas without offsetting clinical benefits could significantly increase rates of patient harm.

Department of Health and Social Care

Getting the right leadership is vital for patient safety

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock spoke to healthcare professionals at the Royal Society of Medicine. There’s no one solution to patient safety. It’s a series of steps. It’s a path of continuous learning and improvement. There will always be more we can do, and we must always keep striving to do better.


Priory to close 'inadequate' High Wycombe hospital

Inspectors found serious problems at facility for teens with learning disabilities. The Priory Group has announced it will close a hospital for teenagers in High Wycombe after the health and care regulator rated it inadequate. Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that the Buckinghamshire facility, which caters for children aged 13 to 17 with learning disabilities and/or autism, was “not adequately equipped to care for young people with complex needs”.

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Additional blood pressure and heart medication recalled from pharmacies

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) today recalled 3 batches of Irbesartan. The recall is taking place as part of the continued investigation into potential N nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) contamination of sartan containing medicines, a class of medicine to treat blood pressure and heart attacks and heart failures.

National Health Executive

Thousands of X-rays to be reviewed amid fears of surgical errors

Thousands of NHS patients who had bone fractures repaired with a metal plate now need to have their X-rays reviewed after the NHS has admitted the wrong plates may have been used. NHS Improvement (NHSI) has issued the national patient safety alert ordering trusts to review the X-rays of any patients who have had the surgery, and warned of the risk of harm from using the wrong selection of plates in fixing fractures.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Medicine safety: take care

This report describes the various aspects of medication safety in Australia and the role(s) pharmacists can play in ameliorating these issues. It suggests that 250,000 hospital admissions and another 400,000 presentations to emergency departments annually are a result of medication-related problems with much of this preventable.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Polypharmacy: getting our medicines right

This report summarises the scale and complexity of the issue of polypharmacy. It outlines how health care professionals, patients and carers can find solutions when polypharmacy causes problems for patients and points to useful resources that can help. The guidance recommends that all health care organisations have systems in place to ensure people taking 10 or more medicines can be identified and highlighted as requiring a comprehensive medication review with a pharmacist.

Social Science and Medicine

How to be a very safe maternity unit: An ethnographic study

Maternity care continues to be associated with avoidable harm that can result in serious disability and profound anguish for women, their children, and their families, and in high costs for healthcare systems. This study enhances understanding of what makes a maternity unit safe, paving the way for better design of improvement approaches.


Just another day: 24 hours in the NHS – compromised care, staff shortages and serious stress

Almost half of NHS workers on the front line of patient care say there are not enough staff on their shift to ensure patients are treated safely and with compassion, according to the results of a snapshot survey of NHS staff. The report calls for an increase in NHS funding and mandatory safe-staffing levels in England and Northern Ireland.

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