More than 3,000 people died in a UK hospital last year as a direct result of staff errors. In all, 3,645 deaths were recorded over a 12-month period during 2007 and 2008, an increase of 60 per cent on previous totals.
Around 800,000 errors in UK hospitals are reported every year, although the vast majority of these do not result in the patient's death. The overall error rate has risen by 50 per cent in the last year alone.
Surprisingly, the worrying figures were welcomed by Dr Kevin Cleary, medical director of the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), as "a positive indication that there is an evolving and improving patient safety culture in the National Health Service."
(Source: BBC website, January 6, 2009).