Further 5,000 are left seriously injured by devices including pacemakers and MRI scanners
More than 300 patients a year are dying due to faulty NHS equipment, according to a damning new report. Nearly 5,000 people were left seriously injured last year after using faulty equipment including pacemakers, MRI and CT scanners, according to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In the highest annual total of deaths since records began, 309 patients died last year in 'adverse incidents' linked to medical devices.
In total, there were 13,642 incidents relating to faulty equipment reported to health officials last year. Medics have also been forced to delay life-saving operations because their machines and tools don't work. There are concerns a lack of engineers to maintain equipment might be exacerbating the problem. Patients also suffered delays and injuries after issues with incubators, wheelchairs, artificial limbs, syringes and specialist beds.
In the report, the engineers say boosting the number of engineers in hospitals would help cut the number of deaths and injuries. It warns that while technology is leading to huge advances in healthcare, it remains dependent on the work of biomedical engineers to fix and maintain it. Their report calls for the introduction of a chief biomedical engineer at each NHS trust.
Dr Patrick Finlay, of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: 'Government and the NHS need to take urgent action to prioritise the role engineers play in hospitals and trusts. 'Technology is leading to huge advances in healthcare, but this technology is dependent on the work of biomedical engineers who are inadequately recognised and in short supply in most hospitals.'
He added: 'Clinicians and engineers need to work in partnership to ensure that advances in medical technology are applied in the best interest of patients. The benefits of hospitals having a designated chief biomedical engineer responsible for healthcare technology are clear.'