Work to raise care standard

ERRORS by hospitals are putting the lives of patients with diabetes in danger, according to research.

Mistakes with patients’ medication, prescriptions and management can lead to severe hypoglycemic episodes, which can cause seizures, comas or even death.

And the National Diabetes Inpatient Audit released this week shows that the standard of care at Kettering Hospital got worse between 2010 and 2011.

Figures show that last year 38 per cent of patients suffered medication errors at the hospital, with 26 per cent experiencing prescription errors and 21 per cent management mistakes – all more frequent than in 2010.

Of these, 13 per cent experienced severe hypoglycemic episodes and 26 per cent suffered minor problems.

Hypoglycemia occurs due to dangerously high blood glucose levels.

Lorene Read, Kettering Hospital’s chief executive, said: “We welcome the audit results, which we will be studying carefully in order to further improve care for inpatients who have diabetes.

“The audit is based on a snapshot of a single day in the hospital in November 2010 and then again in November 2011 – so clearly each day will have a different set of patients with different problems and you would expect some variation in our figures, so it may not be representative of our care as a whole.

“All the audited patients have diabetes – but that might not be why they were admitted to hospital on that day – and we believe that overall our diabetes care is excellent.

“But there is always room for improvement and we are working very hard to further develop our staff members’ skill in the management of diabetes in hospital.”

The research found nationally that patients with diabetes are 10 per cent more likely to die in hospital than other patients.