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Patients at Risk as NHS Trusts Fail to Comply with Safety Alerts

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GP’s and hospitals are putting patients at risk by failing to act on mandatory NHS safety alerts, some of which are urgent.

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) sends out these alerts after mistakes have come to light across the country in a bid to stop the same mistakes happening again.

However, the patient support organisation, Action against Medical Accidents has warned that not all departments are complying with these alerts and no trust has taken all of the necessary action required by the NPSA over the last 12 months.

Peter Walsh, chief executive of the charity said, “It is meant to be mandatory for trusts to complete the actions by a deadline. These are known problems repeatedly causing harm or death in the NHS. Yet even the most serious rapid response alerts are consistently not being implemented.”

An analysis in 2010 found 269 instances of a trust failing to take the necessary action required and 195 trusts had also missed the deadline for at least one safety alert sent out last year. 22 trusts had failed to comply with at least five or more alerts. University hospitals of Morecambe bay and Whipps Cross in Leystonstone,London, failed to implement 9 alerts.

Medical director of University hospitals of Morecambe bay NHS Trust, Peter Dyer,  said, “Patient safety has always, and will remain to be, one of our top priorities. The key actions have been implemented in all of the nine outstanding National Patient Safety Agency alerts,” before adding, “It is important to say that patients have not been put at risk at any point by the delay to sign off these alerts. Any alert or new guidance that we receive is taken seriously and the key actions implemented as soon as possible.”

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