Over 1,500 'harmful Patient Safety Incidents' recorded at Bedford Hospital in six months, report claims

83 elective operations were also cancelled over a two-month period

By Clare Turner
Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 4:15 pm

Between October to December 2019, 83 elective operations were cancelled at Bedford Hospital, according to new data.

And more than 1,500 harmful Patient Safety Incidents were also recorded over a six-month period.

However, Bedford Hospital say the cancelled operations were lower than the national average and that no urgent operations were cancelled during this time.

Bedford Hospital (Google)

According to new data analysed by medical negligence solicitors, Blackwater Law, Patient Safety Incidents are defined as “any unintended or unexpected incident that could have or did lead to harm for one or more patients receiving NHS-funded healthcare."

Each incident is recorded along with the level of harm that was suffered by the patient as a result of the incident, ranging from no harm through to death.

They were recorded over the six months from October 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 and can include misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, surgical errors, procedural errors, medication errors and problems, patient administration errors, as well as failure to prevent self-harming behaviour.

In Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, there were 1,514 incidents between October 2019 and March this year, compared with 741 over the same period the previous year.

But the hospital confirmed the rise in reported harmful patient safety incidents is due to a change in national guidance on how NHS trusts report pressure ulcers.

In a statement, a hospital spokesman said: "Since April 2019 we have been required to report pressure ulcers as a harmful patient safety incident whether they developed during a patient's hospital stay or were present on admission.

"Previously we would only report hospital acquired pressure ulcers, this has led to a significant increase in reported incidents. Our staff are proactive in ensuring that any areas of pressure damage are accurately documented and reported any patient who is admitted.

"At Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust patient safety is our number one priority. Our staff work exceptionally hard to ensure our patients receive the highest quality care in a safe environment.

Some of the incidents at Bedford Hospital NHS Trust highlighted were:

83 cancelled elective operations between October to December 2019

13 mixed sex accommodation breaches during January 2020

4 deaths between October 2019 to March 2020

The Bedford Hospital spokesman added: "Bedford Hospital, part of Bedfordshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, cancelled 83 non-urgent operations for non-clinical reasons between October and December 2019. This is lower than the national average of 151. No urgent operations were cancelled during this time.

"We appreciate that preparing to undergo an operation can be a worrying time and we don’t take the decision to cancel any operation lightly. We only cancel routine operations as a last resort, when our theatres or staff are required for emergency cases or when we experience periods of very high demand for hospital beds."

The NHS data analysis carried out by Blackwater Law is part of a wider NHS performance tracker which enables individuals to review the performance of their local NHS Trust against a number of different performance metrics. The NHS performance tracker can be viewed hereJason Brady, partner and head of Blackwater Law, said: ”The data relates to the period before the coronavirus pandemic gathered speed and lockdown was introduced."