NHS Payouts linked to medication blunders have doubled in six years, fuelling record spending, official figures show.
The NHS figures show that in 2019/20, the health service spent £24.3 million on negligence claims relating to medication errors - up from £12.8 million in 2013/14. The statistics show that in the past 15 years, almost £220 million has been spent on claims relating to the blunders.
Previous research has suggested that medication errors may be killing up to 22,000 patients in England every year. Errors occur when patients are given the wrong drugs, doses which are too high or low, or medicines which cause dangerous reactions.
In some cases, patients have been given medication which was intended for another person entirely, sometimes with fatal consequences. Other studies suggest that 1 in 12 prescriptions dispensed by the NHS involve a mistake in medication, dose or length of course.
In some cases, patients have died after being given a dose of morphine ten times that which should have been administered, with other fatalities involving fatal reactions. Confusion often occurs when drugs are not labelled clearly, or when packaging of different medications looks similar.
Jeremy Hunt, now chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee, said the NHS needed to make far more progress preventing harms, instead of seeing an ever increasing negligence bill.
He said: “It is nothing short of immoral that we often spend more cleaning up the mess of numerous tragedies in the courts, than we actually do on the doctors and nurses who could prevent them."
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Source: The Telegraph, 3 October 2020