News hospital audits - Nearly one million errors each year

In all, 980,000 ‘safety’ incidents were reported in UK hospitals last year, according to the National Audit Office. But the study was quick to confirm that this may be just the tip of the iceberg due to serious underreporting.

The survey reckons that 2081 patients died in a UK hospital between April 2004 and March 2005, which is far more than the 840 estimated earlier this year by the National Patient Safety Agency.

Although falls were readily reported, a medical error - such as the wrong medication or drug potency - was invariably overlooked, especially if made by a doctor.