Hospitals are increasingly dangerous places
- By: Peadar O'Donohoe
Accidents in UK hospitals are on the increase, and, according to a report released by the National Audit Office, they cost the NHS at least £173m ($283; €243) (the report was not specific about the time period).
Targets for creating healthy workplaces in the NHS were set in 1999, but nearly two thirds of trusts have reported an increase in staff related accidents resulting in target reduction of 20% not being achieved.
Most accidents are due to moving patients; needlestick and sharp object injuries; slips, trips, and falls; and exposure to hazardous substances. But of growing concern is the increase in stress related to work, with two thirds of trusts reporting an increase over the past three years.
More than a fifth of trusts blamed staff shortages and increased workload as leading to poor compliance with guidelines. This problem was compounded by the accidents themselves, which cause staff shortages through