One in 300 NHS patients killed by avoidable blunders, warns Richard Branson in call for new safeguards
Last updated at 9:58 AM on 08th October 2008
Campaign: Mr Branson is the new vice- president of the Patients Association
One in 300 NHS patients is killed because of avoidable blunders by staff or hospital-acquired infections, Sir Richard Branson warned yesterday.
The Virgin Atlantic chief said that this toll was far higher than the risks posed by air travel.
Sir Richard, a newly-appointed vice-president of the Patients Association, compared the safety records of his aviation business and the NHS.
He added that the level of harm suffered by patients going into hospital for treatment was ‘unacceptable’.
‘If you fly on a plane you have a one in ten million chance of being killed,’ he said.
‘If you go into hospital you have a one in 300 chance of being killed - not from the illness you went in with, but because of mistakes and other unnecessary problems such as hospital-acquired infections.
‘If one in 300 of our passengers died unnecessarily we would rightly be grounded.’
He told a Patients Association conference in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, that the NHS record was not good enough.
He called for new measures such as routine screening to detect and treat carriers of superbugs.
Around 2,000 NHS patients die each year after errors in treatment - half of which could have been avoided, according to the National Patient Safety Agency. An estimated 5,000 die from superbug infections.