This learning from reporting section, taken from Quarterly Data Summary Issue 10, focuses on reports of patient identification errors from failure to use or check ID numbers correctly.
The National Reporting and Learning Service (NRLS) has issued guidance on the use of standardised wristbands, and the NHS Number as the national identifier, to help improve patient identification.
Analysis of 1,329 reports relating to patient identification submitted to the NRLS between 1 June 2006 and 31 August 2008 highlighted key trends and themes.
The vast majority of incidents reviewed occurred in acute/general hospitals. Most related to hospital numbers, while the remainder related to NHS Numbers.
The document includes analysis of the emerging themes, degree of harm, contributory factors, and consequences of errors. It concludes that reducing or eliminating errors in patient identification and the matching of patients with their care remain a high priority for patient safety, and recommends further actions.