20 medication mishaps a week at Rotherham's hospital trust, figures reveal

By Chloe West | 22/02/2019

20 medication mishaps a week at Rotherham's hospital trust, figures reveal
MP for Rother Valley, Sir Kevin Barron, pictured with Paul O'Hanlon, chief executive of Omnicell UK & Ireland who hosted the event.

MIX-UPS, delays and errors over medicine happen 20 times a week at Rotherham’s hospital trust.

Figures released by The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust revealed there were 1,045 “incidents” relating to medication last year, an average of 87 every month.

Dr Callum Gardner, interim medical director at the trust, said although the aim was to have no such incidents, a “small number” do occur.

These include cases where the wrong medication is dispensed, where medication has not been given out while awaiting confirmation the prescription is correct and where an error being made results in medicine not being given to a patient.  

The trust said 98.6 per cent of reported incidents were “low risk” or caused no harm to patients. 

Dr Gardner said the proportion of medication incidents in relation to the overall number of incidents given further consideration was “in line with the national average”.

He added: “We are committed to providing our patients with high quality, safe care. 

“Although the level of medication incidents at the trust is in line with the national average, we are always looking at how we can improve further for our patients.”

Dr Gardner said the trust had a medication safety group which meets monthly to discuss incidents and action can be taken to prevent a repeat.

Themes of trends are also said to be discussed at the trust’s patient safety group and clinical governance committee, both of which are chaired by Dr Gardner. 

A health summit was held at Westminster earlier this month, discussing ways to reduce such medication errors and improve patient safety nationally, with Rother Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron among those attending.

It was revealed that in 2018 alone, the Department of Health and Social Care had released a report which found that across England, there were 237 million mistakes occurring every year at some point in the medication process. 

These errors cause serious issues for patient safety, but also place a significant cost burden on an already over-stretched NHS.

It was also revealed that the estimated cost to the NHS of avoidable adverse drug reactions reaches £98.5 million per year, consuming 181,626 bed days, causing more than 700 deaths and contributing to a further 1,078 deaths. 

After the summit, Sir Kevin, who is chair of the all-party parliamentary group on pharmacy said: “It is a pleasure to have been involved in this event. 

“It is crucially important that relevant stakeholders regularly come together to engage in free and open discussion about how best to improve patient safety.”

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