The NHS should be bracing itself for an increased number of medical negligence compensation claims after a new report suggests that some diabetics have been receiving the wrong treatment.
The National Diabetes Inpatient Audit discovered that 3,700 diabetic inpatients suffered from at least one mistake whilst they were in a hospital in England and Wales, and those figures just took a 7-day period into consideration.
Victims who were given incorrect medication suffered more than twice as many hypoglycaemic episodes than those who received the right treatment. Furthermore, consistently high blood glucose levels caused 68 inpatients to develop diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal condition. This would suggest that these patients did not receive sufficient insulin.
The Audit said that nearly one in every three diabetic patient was affected by an error, which could have left them with either dangerously low or high blood glucose levels.
The chief executive of Diabetes UK, Barbara Young, said the situation in hospitals was clearly unacceptable. People should not be suffering from these sort of mistakes when they go into hospital and it shows that the NHS is failing in its duty to care for diabetics.
Dr Gerry Rayman, the clinician in charge of the Audit, said doctors and hospital staff need to receive better training to help them treat people with diabetes. Training should be mandatory to improve the control of the disease and reduce instances of severe cases of hypoglycaemia. Furthermore, DKA should never happen in hospitals and action must be taken to ensure such negligence does not occur again.