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Serious accidents down in SA hospitals

New patient safety figures reveal a decline in hospital errors.

South Australia's public hospitals have seen a drop in serious errors and mishaps, new figures show.

The latest patient safety report said the number of major events, including deaths of women in childbirth, patient suicides and major medical errors, fell to 10 in 2010-11, down from 14 the previous year.

There were only two cases of a medical error leading to death, three where instruments were left in patients after surgery and three maternal deaths.

Health Minister John Hill said each year more than two million services were provided in SA's public hospitals, and staff did an outstanding job protecting the safety of their patients.

"However, diagnosing and treating very sick or injured people is complex, and unfortunately there are occasions where something goes wrong," he said.

"These incidents, as well as situations where there was even the potential for something to go wrong, are investigated and any necessary action is taken to try and prevent it happening again."

Hill said considerable progress had been made to improve patient safety including new electronic systems, improved hand hygiene, new guidelines for staff handovers and initiatives to reduce falls.


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