This article was published on May 6th, 2015
The amount of patients dying needlessly in NHS hospitals has exploded with an increase of 500% in the last 10 years. The increase has been blamed in part on medical prescription errors and the adverse side-effects of their medicines. Questions are being asked whether this could simply be solved by having more checks in place.
The NHS has a shortage of trained pharmacists who are the vital component in insuring important checks are carried out. According to Hospital vacancy lists, one in every six pharmacy posts is unfilled. Therefore prescribing medicines and drugs has increasingly become another responsibility for doctors who are already over worked. Consequently, this is thought to have led to more errors such as drug prescriptions being assigned incorrectly to patients and medicines being given the wrong way.
Due to the intensity and toxicity of modern drugs, coupled with how common it is for patients to be on multiple medication, there is an increased likelihood of prescription errors leading to fatalities. A report in 1990 shows, in England and Wales, there were just over 200 deaths a year from prescription errors. These figures have continued to increase year on year so that in 1999 it was around 950 deaths a year continuing to increase in 2000 to 1,100 deaths. There are now approximately up to 10,000 serious drug errors in hospitals every year.
In order to reduce errors and combat this increasing trend, hospitals need to improve the training of staff, increase number of checks in place and also use computers to reduce errors and use pharmacists more broadly across hospitals. Computerised checks and prescriptions are used in only a few hospitals but they have been proven to eliminate more than half of medication errors and so these systems should be introduced into more hospitals in the very near future.
If you think you have been prescribed the wrong medication or being given drugs the incorrect way which caused your health to suffer then contact our specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitors to find out if you have a viable claim. Our NHS Hospitals do a great job most of the time but every now and again a patient received unacceptable medical care. If you think you may be one of the few who have been let down by your health service then you need to contact our specialist medical negligence solicitors to see if you are eligible for a compensation claim.
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