Doctor: Few medical errors in hospitals

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 27 Sep 2003


PETALING JAYA: The record of medical errors reported in Malaysia is small compared to developed nations but continuous risk management methods must be taken to improve patient safety in hospitals, Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Ridzwan Bakar said. 

He said based on the results of the Incident Reporting exercise conducted last year on all public hospitals, medication errors only made up 0.01% of the total number of cases surveyed. 

“This meant that out of more than 10 million prescriptions, 1,637 errors are recorded.  

“This is small compared to the 98,000 deaths noted yearly in the United States due to medical errors implied from two studies conducted, one in 1984 and the other in 1992. 

“However, this also means 1,637 lives were affected because of these mistakes,” he said in his speech at the official launch of the International Healthcare Show 2003 yesterday.  

Dr Ridzwan also said adverse drug reactions were reported in 13,319 patients out of the one million episodes of care surveyed last year. 

The Incident Reporting Programme, implemented in all hospitals, presently monitors 31 types of incidents in hospital settings which includes medication errors, adverse outcomes of procedures, falls in the wards and wrong procedures performed.  

“We need to consider the tools for mitigating such risks, which include quality assurance programmes, performance indicators, clinical audit and the patient safety council,” he added. 

Health Ministry parliamentary secretary S. Sothinathan, who delivered the Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng’s opening speech, said the reports on adverse incidents were monitored every six months and this was required of the private sector under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Service Act 1998. 

On the patient safety council, he said it had set up six sub-committees to look at issues such as developing an electronic reporting system and database for adverse incidents, analyse root causes of such events, recommend strategies and actions for safety and quality improvement and publish regular reports. 

At a press conference later, Sothinathan said the ministry was taking all precautionary measures to ensure that Malaysians were protected from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy being transmitted through foreign workers.  

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