Too many hospitals are still too slow in responding to patient safety alerts in England, campaigners say.
Department of Health data showed there were over 650 cases of NHS trusts not complying with alerts within deadline. This represents a 50% fall from last year but the charity Action against Medical Accidents said there was no excuse for non-compliance.
The alerts are issued when potentially harmful situations are identified in health settings, such as where medical equipment is being wrongly used, where there are equipment failures or medication errors.
In a new report published today AVMA say 203 trusts which had failed to comply with at least one alert, while five trusts had not complied with 10 or more alerts.
AVMA chief executive, Peter Walsh, said: "There can be no excuse for not implementing these alerts. Each alert not complied with means patients are being put at unnecessary risk. Lives are being lost as a result."
But he added: "We welcome the fact that as a result of the pressure we have brought to bear, there has been a significant improvement in compliance."
AVAM says the Care Quality Commission should be more proactive in insisting with compliance with patient safety alerts and taking action against trusts who continue not to comply. It also recommends that the Department of Health produce a business plan for the co-ordination of patient safety work, including the generation of and monitoring compliance with patient safety alerts.
Information on compliance with patient safety alerts should be made available in a far more prominent and user-friendly – either through the trust’s own website and through NHS Choices. There needs to be a concerted programme of training for NHS staff drawing on the best practice that has allowed 50% of trusts to comply with patient safety alerts and real patient stories demonstrating how vitally important this is.
A Department of Health spokesman said: "Although progress has been made, much more needs to be done across the system. We expect trusts to comply with safety alerts."
Watch the Channel 4 News report here.