Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS provider reports 15,059 incidents and errors causing harm to patients

University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, recently reported 15,059 Patient Safety Incidents causing harm to patients.

The incidents occurred during the provision of patient care or whilst patients were under the NHS Trust’s care. All 15,059 incidents caused harm to patients, from minor harm through to death.

What does this mean?

NHS trusts record and report all Patient Safety Incidents, which are defined as “any unintended or unexpected incident that could have or did lead to harm for one or more patients receiving NHS-funded healthcare”. Incidents may include medication or prescription errors, patients being left to develop pressure ulcers, medical device equipment failures, surgical errors, patient falls and material patient administration errors, amongst others. When reporting the number of incidents and errors that have occurred, each Trust must state the level of harm that was caused to a patient, if any.

Patient Safety Incident classification

There are five levels of harm that can be recorded:

Death – where death has occurred as a result of the incident.
Severe – Permanent or long-term harm caused as a result of the incident.
Moderate – requiring extra treatment including extra surgical intervention, cancelling treatment, transfer to another area and short-term harm as a result of the incident.
Low – extra observation or treatment was required as a result of the incident.
None – where no harm or damage was caused to the patient.

University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, recorded a total of 22,048 Patient Safety Incidents during the most recent six-month period for which figures were released (October 2018 – March 2019). The recording of a Patient Safety Incident does not necessarily mean that any harm was caused to a patient, simply that an incident occurred that, at the very least, could have caused harm to a patient or group of patients.

University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust recorded that of the total number of Patient Safety Incidents reported, 10 Patient Safety Incidents caused death, 62 caused severe harm, 178 caused moderate harm and 14,809 caused low levels of harm. Whilst the later are deemed ‘low’ levels of harm, the injury or illness caused still requires extra treatment to be provided to the patient as a result. The Trust reported 6,989 incidents causing no harm.

NHS trusts encourage staff to report all occurrences of a Patient Safety Incident with a view to supporting a culture of learning and improvement, which is why so many incidents are reported where no harm is recorded to the patient(s) involved.

Neither any individual data set presented on the NHS Performance Tracker section of the Blackwater Law website, nor the data for an individual Trust considered collectively, can alone be used to determine difference in quality of care being provided by individual NHS trusts.

Victims of Patient Safety Incidents

Any patient who has been the victim of a Patient Safety Incident or received poor medical care could be entitled to receive compensation. Due to the complexity of these medical negligence claims, it is always wise to contact a medical negligence solicitor for free initial advice.

If you have not been happy with the medical care provided to you or a family member, please call us to discuss your concerns and to see if you may be entitled to compensation. Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors offer free initial advice to patients and families across the country and we can tell you whether you may be entitled to compensation.


The NHS Performance Tracker Data:

All data presented in this press release has been sourced from the NHS Improvement website and will be updated on a regular basis as new data is published by the NHS.

Every effort has been taken to ensure the data on the NHS Performance Tracker section of the Blackwater Law website is accurate; however, Blackwater Law has relied on the accuracy of the data as provided by individual NHS trusts to NHS Improvement and then the accuracy of the data as published by the same.

This data is public sector information licensed to Blackwater Law under the Open Government Licence v3.0: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/