Hospital trust records high number of ‘severe’ patient safety incidents

The safety data covers Ipswich and Colchester hospitals Picture: ARCHANT

The safety data covers Ipswich and Colchester hospitals Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Concerns have been raised after a hospital trust in our region recorded a high number of patient safety incidents.

Andy Yacoub , CEO Healthwatch Suffolk Picture: GREGG BROWN

Andy Yacoub , CEO Healthwatch Suffolk Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

New data shows that the number of patient safety incidents at the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals, recorded over 10,000 patient safety incidents between October 2019 and March 2020.

Patient safety incidents are defined by the NHS as any unintended or unexpected incidents which could have, or did, lead to harm for one or more patients receiving healthcare.

The incidents are categorised into different levels depending on how much harm they caused; none, low, moderate, severe or death.

Of these 10,000 incidents over 6000 were classed as the lowest, ‘no harm’ incidents.

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However, 91 of the incidents were classed as ‘severe’ and another two as ‘death’.

The ‘severe’ statistics for ESNEFT were the highest for any acute hospital in England. It was the same case for statistics covering the period between April and September 2019, where 50 ‘severe’ cases were recorded.

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The trust say that over 60 of the severe harm incidents in the latest data relate to patients who present with pressure ulcers when they are admitted to hospital.

Figures for these kinds of incidents have been included in the data since April 2019.

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The number of days it took for incidents to be reported on average, however, was one of the lowest for any trusts at just two days; compared to over 100 days elsewhere in England.

Kay Hamilton, the interim deputy director of nursing at ESNEFT, said: “Patient safety is our top priority and we are committed to making sure we care for our patients in the best possible way.

“Reporting and learning from incidents is key to this and we follow all the national NHS guidance on reporting patient safety incidents to the letter.

“This includes reporting pressure damage on admission to our hospitals within an average of two days. The national guidance is within five days, but we have increased our level of reporting to improve patient care.

“We strongly encourage our staff to report any incidents so we can learn from them and make improvements to the care we provide to 800,000 patients a year at ESNEFT.”

Andy Yacoub, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said:“Healthwatch Suffolk is fully aware of the severe pressures all our health and social care organisations providers have faced, particularly this year.

“The safety of patients is naturally one of the highest priorities of any healthcare organisation, and those who have received care at Ipswich Hospital are generally positive the treatment and care they have received, alongside the kind-hearted attitudes of staff.

“We do, however, receive a handful of comments about safety and the issues that may arise around this. One comment does discuss being prescribed an opiate-based drug despite the fact that they suffer from an intolerance, while another describes poor communication between staff and missed medication.

“There is great deal of expectation on the system’s ability to treat those who need care over the coming winter months, and the public must have confidence that every hospital will honestly and transparently follow their Duty of Candour policies and expectations if and when things do go wrong.”

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