“The Times” reported recently that 300 patients die each month because of medical errors according to figures from NHS England.

In the year to the end of March 2013, some 3,588 patients died from errors.

An NHS England safety study found that in the second half that period, 683,883 patients in England and Wales suffered harm or were exposed to the risk of it, some 6.4% more than in the same period the previous year. Those cases included 1,834 deaths.

The harm was rated “severe” in 3,479 cases (or 0.5%) and “serious” in 44,895 (6.5%). More than 25% of cases suffered “low harm”, requiring no more than minor treatment, and 6% were “medium harm” causing no permanent ill effects.

This is a truly shocking statistic. It is the equivalent to 6 jumbo jets crashing every year and killing all its passengers. The worse thing is that this statistic is probably an under estimate as not all deaths are reported by the Hospital Trusts to NHS England.

In light of the reports into patient health care published since the Mid Staffs scandal, I hope that the NHS will now adopt changes to ensure that its patients are protected from these type of errors. They should model themselves on the airline industry which has a safety record second to none. Running an airline can be just as complicated as running a hospital.

[box] SJ Edney Solicitors are specialists in medical negligence cases, if you have been affected by a medical error please get in touch with one of our regional offices in Swindon, Cheltenham or Oxford, we may be able to help[/box]