Medication errors occur in the treatment of 3,700 inpatients with diabetes in hospitals in England and Wales each week, according to the National Diabetes Inpatient Audit.
Patients experiencing errors suffered more than double the number of severe hypoglycaemic episodes than patients not experiencing errors, the major audit revealed.
The NHS Information Centre study also found 68 patients developed diabetic ketoacidosis during their stay in hospital.
The audit examined data for 12,800 patients over a seven-day period during October 2011. One of the most common errors was failing to sign off on the patient’s bedside information chart that insulin had been given, which happened to 11.1 per cent, or 440, patients who experienced errors.
A total of 600 patients, 17.4 per cent, had a severe hypoglycaemic attack while in hospital.
Audit lead clinician Gerry Rayman said that although there had been improvements, doctors and nurses still required basic training. “Training needs to be mandatory to improve diabetes control and reduce the frequency of severe hypoglycaemia. It is also needed to prevent diabetic ketosis occurring in hospital, for which there can be no excuse.”