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Call for national reporting system

More than 100 deaths resulting from incidents at Scottish hospitals are to be revealed in a televised investigation.

BBC Scotland said its programme, How Safe Is Your Hospital?, will tell of 345 NHS reports from last year which were previously kept secret.

They include one case in which a person was blown up whilst being treated with oxygen therapy, patients dying or becoming ill when they were given the wrong doses of medication and supplies of drugs or emergency treatment not being available.

The documents show variations between health boards in the number of incidents that are reported and what types of investigations are conducted.

Differences in what each board considers to be "serious" are also apparent, with incident reports ranging from a nurse being injured whilst hanging Christmas decorations to a baby dying during labour and a surgeon removing a patient's healthy organ.

Scotland's largest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, reported 95 incidents last year compared to NHS Shetland which noted 138. The programme also highlights that all of NHS Tayside's reports list "nearly identical" learning points. All of the reports, which were obtained through freedom of information requests, will be posted online at

The investigation also found that the NHS has paid out over £120 million in compensation and legal expenses over the last three years in Scotland. In two individual cases, NHS Lanarkshire paid out a total of over £6 million, BBC Scotland said.

Jim Martin, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, has called for a national system for reporting serious incidents. He told the programme: "I think one of the things that your (the BBC's) inquiries have highlighted is that across Scotland just now we're pretty confused about what we call things, what things mean and whether for example a critical incident review is a health and safety review, whether it's a review of something that's gone wrong surgically or in a GP's surgery or in a dental surgery.

"It's a confusing picture. I think if we had a simple national system it would be far easier to ask a simple question of the health service and get a clear statistical answer."

The Scottish Government said it has asked for an urgent review of incident reporting from Health Improvement Scotland (HIS), the body set up to support NHS Scotland and other healthcare providers deliver high quality and safe services.


From Belfast Telegraph