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HIQA publishes first overview report on significant events of accidental or unintended medical exposures reported in 2019

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The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published an overview report on the lessons learned from notifications of significant incident events in Ireland arising from accidental or unintended medical exposures in 2019. 

In 2019, HIQA received 68 notifications of significant events of accidental or unintended medical exposures to patients in public and private facilities, which is a small percentage of significant incidents relative to the total number of procedures taking place which can be conservatively estimated at over three million exposures a year.

The most common errors reported were patient identification failures, resulting in an incorrect patient receiving an exposure. These errors happened at various points in the patient pathway which, while in line with previous reporting nationally and international data, highlights an area for improvement.

John Tuffy, Regional Manager for Ionising Radiation, said “The overall findings of our report indicate that the use of radiation in medicine in Ireland is generally quite safe for patients. The incidents which were reported to HIQA during 2019 involved relatively low radiation doses which posed limited risk to service users. However, there have been radiation incidents reported internationally which resulted in severe detrimental effects to patients so ongoing vigilance and attention is required."

John Tuffy, continued “As the regulator of medical exposures, HIQA has a key role in the receipt and evaluation of notifications received. While a significant event is unwanted, reporting is a key demonstrator of a positive patient safety culture. A lack of reporting does not necessarily demonstrate an absence of risk. Reporting is important, not only to ensure an undertaking is compliant but because it improves general patient safety in a service and can minimise the probability of future preventative events occurring.”

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Source: HIQA, 9 September 2020

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