BBC Scotland has acquired a series of reports regarding the NHS in Scotland. Under the Freedom of Information Act it is now possible for people and agencies to request documents which have been kept a secret in the past.
The once secret documents relate to serious incidents in which 105 died. The fact that an incident does not lead directly to death does not necessarily make it any less serious. One report details an older woman who was admitted to hospital for treatment on an infected foot. Whilst in hospital her other foot was affected due to pressure sores. With proper hospital care pressure sores are preventable and treatable. The woman needed to have the newly affected foot amputated. The amputation was below the knee with obvious serious implications for her life back home.
A page at the BBC website offers a link to the areas of Scotland included with details of their associated incidents. Some were obviously not preventable but others are shocking.
The reports include a person being blown up while on oxygen therapy after lighting a cigarette.
At the heart of this report is how the NHS treats its serious incidents. Do the hospitals have efficient procedures in place to recod such incidents and how are any reports acted upon? It is no good documenting incidents unless lessons are learned. In an ideal world srious incidents should be reported, the lesson learned and the number of such incidents significantly reduced.
In Scotland this appears to be far from the case. Now that the information is in the public domain hopefully there will be change for the better.
Across the UK there is a similar picture of the NHS which many have said is confusing. A one size fits all national policy would make more sense, as far as incident reporting and improvements go.