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Three quarters of NHS trusts “ignoring safety alerts”

16 February 2010

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Three quarters of health trusts in England have failed to comply with patient safety alerts, according to a new study.

Some 300 trusts around the country have not complied with at least one alert, issued to tackle problems which cause injury or death, although the deadline has passed, a report by Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) said.

The group obtained the data, which covers 53 patient safety alerts issued between 2004 and 2009, from the Department of Health via a Freedom of Information request in December.

The alerts are issued by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) and require NHS trusts to take action on certain problems.

They included one on injectable medicines, which was issued after 25 deaths and 28 cases of serious harm were reported between January 2005 and June 2006.

Others tackled handwashing to prevent the spread of serious infections, action to avoid feeding tubes being fitted incorrectly and action to improve safety for patients receiving high doses of morphine.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We expect all NHS trusts to comply with safety alerts and to record and action them. However, not all organisations may be updating the system reliably and in a timely fashion. The Department will shortly be issuing all NHS organisations a formal reminder of their obligations to do this.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010


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