THE number of serious incidents reported within East Lancashire hospitals has increased by 20 per cent in the last two years, figures reveal.

The latest East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust board meeting revealed there had been an increase of serious incidents from 94 in 2017/2018 to 113 in 2018/2019.

The figures also reveal the breakdown into the types of serious incidents that happened during the last 12 months.

The top three categories are pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores, with 31 reports, 21 falls, and 18 diagnosis failures.

The trust describes a serious incident as an act or omission in care that results in an unexpected or avoidable death, injury or resulting in serious harm.

Other incidents reported were communication problems, treatment issues, staffing issues and harassment.

Within the report, the patient safety manager said the incidents for this year are currently being investigated and the total for 2018/19 may decrease.

An East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman said: "We thank the Lancashire Telegraph for reminding readers about the important topic of patient safety.

"Our staff work incredibly hard to achieve what we all want - as few serious incidents as possible.

"The increase in reported serious incidents is the result trust efforts to further improve patient safety which, in line with new guidance from NHS Improvement, meant a recent change in how we report pressure ulcers.

"The result is that although the pressure ulcer statistics show a rise, this does not mean more pressure ulcers are happening."

The report highlighted the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust falls steering group and the pressure ulcers steering group have been notified of the results and are working on improvement projects.

A review is being completed on incidents and results will be published in next month's serious incidents requiring investigation.

An East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman said: "Overall the number of pressure ulcers amongst our patients is much lower than NHS trusts who treat far fewer patients.

"Our nursing staff remain committed to giving the best care, especially to the most poorly patients, to avoid pressure damage whenever possible and, where it occurs, manage and treat it in the best way possible."