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Old people and babies “most at risk from medicine-dose mistakes”

18 June 2009

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Old people, babies and young children run the most risk of being given the wrong dose of medicine in hospital, according to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).

They are included in the total of 910,089 care incidents noted by the agency’s reporting and learning system (RLS) between October 2007 and September 2008. Of those, 45,000 involved children and 18,200 covered babies aged under one month.

In percentage terms, 2% related to the care of babies aged from birth to 27 days and 5% to children aged from 28 days to 17 years. Among babies, 17% related to treatments or procedures, 15% to medication and 14% to admissions, transfers and discharges.

The report notes that babies and children aged from birth to four had the second highest percentage of medication incidents of all age groups. Only the 75-year-plus age group had more reported incidents.

While most of the incidents occurred in hospital, the NPSA has called for better reporting in primary settings such as GP surgeries, which are where the vast majority of children receive care.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

National Patient Safety Agency