What are the serious injuries reported in private healthcare and how can you use this information to inform discussions with your consultant?

What are serious injuries?
What can serious injuries tell you about a hospital?
Your checklist

What are serious injuries?

This is where a patient suffers an injury related to their treatment which has resulted in significant harm.

While all hospitals (NHS and private) report a range of serious injuries to the Care Quality Commission, we currently publish a count of the most serious: where the injury resulted in severe harm.

These are permanent injuries to a patients’ bodily, sensory, motor, physiologic or intellectual functions, including removal of the wrong limb or organ, or brain damage.

On a hospital’s profile there will be two numbers published based on the latest 12-months of data supplied by the hospital:

  • the total number of serious injuries; and
  • the number of serious injuries as a rate per 1,000 patients.

We publish a rate as well as a count because hospitals that treat large numbers of patients are more likely to have instances where patients were seriously injured. Publishing a rate makes comparisons between hospitals of differing sizes fairer.

What can serious injuries tell you about a hospital?

You should always check if a hospital has reported whether or not they have had any serious injuries. If a hospital does not record and report this information, this may lead you to question whether they adequately monitor safety in their hospitals and what this might mean for you.

If a hospital has failed to report whether they have had serious injuries we will make it clear on their profile.

Serious injuries that cause severe harm tend to be uncommon, and many hospitals will not have any instances where a patient has experienced severe harm over the course of a year. If a hospital has a high rate of serious injuries, you may want to ask what preventative measures the hospital has to stop them from happening again.

Your checklist

  1. Check to see if your preferred hospital is reporting their serious injuries. If they aren’t, what could this mean about the safety monitoring in the hospital?
  2. Understand your hospital’s serious injuries rate. Use our website to compare the hospital to others in your local area.
  3. Ask questions. Use this information to guide your conversation with a consultant and prompt them to clarify what processes they have in place to stop serious injuries from occurring.

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