|Patient safety cannot wait for I.T.,
South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has described the news that one in ten patients admitted to NHS hospitals is unintentionally harmed as ‘deeply worrying’ and warned health officials not to pin hopes of a solution on the new electronic patient record system.
Mr Bacon was speaking as the Commons public accounts committee published its report on improvements to patient safety.
The report states that there is little consistency between Trusts’ reporting systems and that under-reporting of incidents remains a problem. A survey by the National Audit Office found NHS Trusts in 2004-05 recording nearly 1 million incidents or near-misses and over 2,000 deaths due to patient safety incidents, although there is doubt as to whether these numbers provide a complete and accurate picture of the problem.
In January 2006, the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson told the committee that the electronic patient record system, part of the NHS’s ‘Connecting for Health’ I.T. programme, would help reduce the number of incidents caused by incorrect medication or incomplete clinical information.
However, the system is likely to be delayed at least until 2008 and there is disagreement between doctors and the Department of Health over how much information each electronic record should hold.
Mr Bacon, a member of the committee, said today: “The statistics on patient safety are rather bleak and NHS officials should not suppose that electronic patient records will provide a ‘quick fix’ to a serious problem”.
“When the electronic patient record system went live at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, patient records were ‘lost’ in the system and ‘major issues of patient safety’ were identified. This is hardly an improvement on the status quo”.
6 July 2006
PARLIAMENT: MP says records system may put patients at risk
PAC REPORT: Learning to Improve Patient Safety
|© Richard Bacon 2010|