Violence against patients report released


HOSPITALS AND community healthcare facilities reported almost 10,000 incidents of violence, harassment, aggression or abuse against patients in 2011, new data published yesterday showed.

And a bill of €81 million was paid out under the clinical negligence scheme by the State Claims Agency following adverse incidents last year.

Data collected from 700 hospitals and community-based healthcare facilities who used an anonymised adverse events reporting system, also showed more than 27,000 incidents of slips, trips and falls.

The data was published yesterday by the State Claims Agency and the Health Service Executive.

Almost 86,000 incidents of harm or near misses were reported in the last year.

The largest category related to slips, trips and falls and included 7,400 incidents of patients falling from beds, cots or chairs.

Of almost 10,000 incidents of violence, harassment, aggression or abuse, more than 4,300 involved a physical assault on a patient. And more than 3,500 were categorised as aggressive behaviour. Many of the reports involved people with intellectual disabilities or came from mental health institutions or geriatric facilities.

Just over 6,600 adverse incidents related to medication errors with more than 1,000 incorrect dosages given to patients and 560 incidents of patients being given the wrong medication.

Of almost 6,300 treatment incidents reported, a quarter related to a delay or failure to treat and more than 1,100 resulted in serious soft tissue damage.

More than 5,600 adverse peri-natal incidents, covering the period around childbirth for both mother and child, were reported in 2011. These included almost 800 cases of third or fourth degree tears of the perineum during childbirth and just over 700 incidents of haemorrhage of the mother after birth.

Almost 650 incidents of newborns being transferred unexpectedly to intensive care were reported.

Dr Phillip Crowley, HSE national director of quality and patient safety, said healthcare organisations with a high level of reporting of adverse events had a better patient safety profile than those that report less.


7,402 reports of patients falling from beds, cots or chairs

6,633 reports of medication errors

4,315 reports of physical assault against patients

3,945 reports of mistakes with patients’ records or documentation

2,726 reports of patient absconsion

1,555 reports of delays or failures to treat