NSW Hospitals have had the highest number of major mistakes leading to death or serious harm to patients.
NSW Hospitals have had the highest number of major mistakes leading to death or serious harm to patients. Iain Curry

NSW hospitals the worst for serious harm

HOSPITALS in New South Wales have had the highest number of major mistakes leading to death or serious harm to patients, the Productivity Commission Report on Government Services 2018 revealed this week.

There were 34 "sentinel events” in NSW hospitals in 2015-16, compared to 16 in Victoria, 15 in Queensland, 11in South Australia, five in Western Australia and one in the ACT, the report found.

These events included procedures that involved the wrong patient or body part and resulted in death or major permanent loss, instruments or material retained inside a patient after surgery, medication errors and maternal death associated with pregnancy or birth.

Opposition spokesman on health Walt Secord said the report reaffirmed his belief NSW hospitals were "under enormous pressure”.

With no data on which hospitals these incidents occurred in, Mr Secord said more information should be available.

"I'd like to see more openness and transparency. The community has a right to know whether these are occurring at one of their local hospitals,” he said.

Maurice Blackburn national head of medical negligence Kathryn Booth said the rate of mistakes in NSW remained too high.

She welcomed the transparency of these events at state hospitals but noted the report did not include data from private hospitals.

"It is critical that there is greater reporting done across all hospitals to identify patient safety incidents and to ensure that action can be taken as a priority to address these risks,” she said.

The Northern NSW Local Health District and NSW Health reaffirmed there was no local data available.



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