What's the difference between 840 and 40,000? An awful lot of liability insurance payments.
New research into errors in UK hospitals has put the annual rate at around half a million. A 'staggeringly high figure', the researchers admit, but what seems staggeringly low is that just 840 people died as a direct result of these errors.
This would suggest that just 0.16 per cent of these errors, many of which included the prescribing of the wrong drug or the wrong dose or both, resulted in death. It's also far removed from the 8 per cent estimated by other researchers, which would put the annual death rate from hospital errors at 40,000.
So why the big difference? Could it have anything to do with liability payouts and wrecked careers? Or is it really the case that a typical UK hospital is by far the safest place to be?