Increase in Medication Errors at the NHS

Medication errors have increased two-fold in recent years. Most of these incidents did not result in any substantial harm to patients. The top five medication errors that reported were: Administering the wrong dosage, Medicines being delayed or missed, Administration of the wrong drug, Administration of the wrong quantity, Mismatching, where the medicine of patient “A” was given to patient “B”.  In an organization as large as NHS, there is always potential for accidents and errors, but the management has to ensure that solid measures are implemented that minimize risks and make patient safety their primary concern.

Another aspect is that some errors are repeated due to carelessness and such incidents need to be investigated more closely so that NHS has a safe, solid and meticulous reporting culture. This will eventually ensure that mistakes do not occur or are corrected as soon as possible. The study carried out at NHS facilities that 41% of the more serious errors took place in the administration of the medication by the nursing staff while 32% errors occurred during the prescription stage. Most figures were derived from NHS hospital staff in hospital trusts, mental health trusts and primary care facilities. Out of these incidents, 37 resulted in the death of the patients and 63 occurred because of the wrong type of injections including injecting wrong quantity.

Around 98,000 patients die every year due to medication errors that could have easily been prevented. This is not the entire problem because thousands of patients suffer other forms of damage due to medical errors and barely survive mistakes made by their care providers. These medical mistakes cost around $ 29 billion annually besides causing physical and psychological pain, diminish trust in the healthcare system. Safety procedures are very important in nursing training and trainee nurses are taught the right way to administer medication which includes giving the right drug, the correct dose, correct route and the right time.

These are simple rules that do not adhere to the complexity of the nurse’s role today because they concentrate on individual instead of system factors. Human errors consist of the “human approach” which is responsible for most medication errors. The human approach envisages errors because of human weaknesses which include forgetfulness, inadequate motivation, negligence and lacking attention. Solutions for these errors include disciplinary action, the fear of lawsuits and blame and shame.

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