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Incident reporting
Are the risks of hospital practice adequately recognised by incident reporting?
  1. G Neale
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor G Neale
 Clinical Safety Research Unit, Academic Department of Surgery, St Mary’s Hospital, London W2 1NY, UK;

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The problem of patient safety is universal and more needs to be done to engage the whole workforce at a national level

In a memorable quotation from the 1999 Hollister Lecture at Northwestern University, Illinois, Sir Cyril Chantler said “Medicine used to be simple, ineffective and relatively safe. Now it is complex, effective but potentially dangerous”.1 For 50 years the dangers have been recognised, initially as diseases directly related to medications2 and subsequently as hospital induced complications in which an early study showed that 20% of patients admitted to hospital were damaged by the care process. This was regarded as the price of medical progress.3 Neither the medical profession nor departments of health were prepared to address the issues. However, by the 1970s in the USA the insurance industry was crumbling under the weight of a growing number of claims of alleged medical negligence. To reveal the size of the problem the Californian Medical Association commissioned a group of doctors to develop a method of case record review. They showed that about 1% of patients admitted to hospital suffered an iatrogenic event as …

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