NHS critical reports concern

CALLS have been made for a standard national system to record critical incidents in hospitals after NHS Borders chalked up more in a year than Scotland’s largest health board, writes Kenny Paterson.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request showed NHS Borders compiled 68 reports for a huge variety of issues.

However, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which has a population nearly 11 times the size of the Borders, only filed 42, with each board’s procedures for reporting and investigating incidents varying.

The incidents reported at GP surgeries and Borders General Hospital from May 2011 to March this year included a first birthday card being delivered to a child which died before birth and a patient being found on the floor covered in blood.

But also logged as critical were two patients found smoking within the BGH.

Scottish Borders Council’s depute leader for health, Catriona Bhatia, said: “As the NHS targets are mainly set nationally, then a standard assessment of rating would seem sensible to ensure consistency across all boards which, in turn, should give more comfort to patients that their safety is paramount.”

NHS Borders director of nursing and midwifery, Evelyn Fleck, said the health board was seeking to increase the reporting of incidents.

She added: “Within NHS Borders, an investigation is undertaken for all incidents which are graded as having an extreme outcome and we consider incident reporting and investigation to be a very valuable tool for learning and improving safety for our patients and staff.”

John Lamont MSP claimed Borderers would be concerned by the high number of critical incident scenarios.

But he added: “In many of these cases I am confident that the staff involved took reasonable precautions, and that the appropriate action was taken to ensure that lessons were learned.”

Christine Grahame MSP said she would be happy to discuss the more serious cases with health chiefs, noting that the Scottish Government has asked for an urgent review of incident reporting from Health Improvement Scotland (HIS).