An NHS report has suggests that family doctors these days are committing about 600 errors a day, especially in diagnosis and treatment.
Though the errors are said to be minor, the Health Commission has warned that about 20 per cent cause harm to patients, and that failure to report them might result in repetitions.
AdvertisementThe commission stresses the need for giving more attention to incidents threatening patient safety across the NHS.
It calls for a special focus on doctors who have the "vast majority" of contacts with patients, due to the "significant risks" linked with prescribing medicines or making a wrong diagnosis.
The figures were questioned by the Department of Health, which said that they were taken from a 2002 review of research showing reported errors by GPs ranged from 40 to 600 a day (five to 80 per 100,000 consultations).
"The commission have taken the upper figure," the Independent quoted a spokesperson as saying.
The Healthcare Commission insists that the real problem is a lack of reporting, which has resulted in figures that vastly understate the scale of such occurrences.
Its report says that one in seven primary care trusts, and one in 14 hospital trusts, did not report any incidents at all between April and June 2008.
It even refers to an investigation by the National Audit office in 2005 that concluded that 50 per cent of the reported incidents could have been avoided if staff had learnt the lessons of previous mistakes.
Anna Walker, the chief executive of the commission, said that better reporting of incidents was essential.
"There is very little from GPs and not much from doctors generally," she said. Almost one in four complaints about GPs is over late or wrong diagnoses.
The commission called for a national database of serious incidents and said NHS trust boards should publish comparative figures.
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