The NAO decided to investigate the question of accidents in hospitals after several trusts reported widespread concern at the high rate of injury which occurred within hospitals. The NAO found that there were no set procedures to assess the scale of the problem or to tackle it. A survey of 30 hospital trusts suggested that there were around 450,000 reported accidents in acute hospitals each year, but fewer than half are recorded. The mishaps cost the NHS at least pounds 154m - some pounds 12m last year in immediate costs, such as treatment, plus at least pounds 142m in longer term items such as sick leave.
Three quarters of the accidents in hospitals involved patients or visitors, who tend to suffer from slips, trips and falls, while for staff the main type of accidents are needlestick and back injuries caused during manual handling and physical assaults.
The NAO says that many accidents are preventable.
n Health and Safety in NHS Acute Hospital Trusts in England, NAO, pounds 8 95Reuse content