News ID: 232445
Published: 1013 GMT October 08, 2018

Over 260,000 diabetes inpatients in UK had hospital medication errors in 2017

Over 260,000 diabetes inpatients in UK had hospital medication errors in 2017

More than a quarter of a million diabetes inpatients in the UK experienced a medication error at hospital last year, putting them at risk of serious harm or death, research by a leading charity has found.

Diabetes UK said more than 260,000 people with the condition had encountered errors during a hospital stay in 2017, 9,600 of whom suffered a serious and potentially life-threatening episode of hypoglycemia because of poor insulin management, reported.

The charity is calling on hospitals to adopt measures to improve the patient experience for people with diabetes and reduce the time they spend in hospital.

More than a million patients with diabetes were admitted to hospital last year. Patients with diabetes are expected to account for a quarter of people occupying hospital beds by 2030. Inpatients with the condition have higher infection rates and stay in hospital for longer periods, accounting for 11 percent of the total NHS inpatient budget.

The charity said adopting its recommendations, such as investing in specialist nursing services and improving staff training, could significantly reduce NHS spending on diabetes, which is currently £2.5 billion a year, and alleviate strain on services.

Emily Watts, the Diabetes UK’s inpatient program manager and co-author of the report, said its findings were ‘shocking and unacceptable’ and should “serve as a wake-up call, and lead to system-wide changes”.

She said, “Everything recommended in our report already exists in certain hospitals across England. We want hospitals to stop working alone, and start learning from each other’s successes.”

The figures were compiled from visits to hospitals across the UK where the authors spoke to patients with diabetes, inpatient teams, healthcare professionals and hospital managers.

The charity’s chief executive, Chris Askew, said, “The NHS is under immense strain, and diabetes is just one of the complex issues competing to be a priority. However, the number of diabetes inpatients receiving inadequate levels of care is a clear reflection that more must be done to make hospitals safe for those living with diabetes.

“The evidence clearly shows that fully resourced, proactive diabetes inpatient teams and an educated inpatient workforce can lead to happier, better-supported patients and shorter lengths of stay.”

A spokeswoman for NHS England said, “NHS England has recently invested £10 million to increase the number of specialist diabetes nurses working in hospitals, and evidence shows they help reduce lengths of stay and medication errors for patients with diabetes. As we draw up the long-term plan for the NHS, we need to build on existing work, including the diabetes treatment and care program, to help tackle this growing problem.”



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