THE number of serious incidents at St Mary's Hospital, including unexpected deaths, missed diagnoses and delays in treatment, has rocketed.

Figures obtained by the Health Service Journal (HSJ), through a Freedom of Information request, show 277 serious incidents were recorded at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust in 2018 — compared with 143 during the previous two years.

The trust said the increase was due to staff confidence in the system, and it was positive they felt able to report incidents.

A serious incident is one that could have significant consequences to a patient, calls the trust's ability to deliver safe healthcare into question or presents a risk it could happen again.

However, not every serious incident is caused by poor treatment or results in harm to a patient.

Once a serious incident is declared, an investigation is carried out to determine what happened in an effort to prevent mistakes from being repeated.

In 2018 and 2019, the HSJ figures show 22 per cent of serious incidents were reported as delays in treatment, 16 per cent were unexpected deaths and seven per cent were down to slips, trips and falls.

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely, who acknowledged a lack of NHS funding, has called for answers from trust bosses.

He said in a letter to the trust: "Some of the rise can be attributed to changes in the way serious incidents are reported. I understand encouraging staff to report incidents is important and we do not want people to be afraid to raise concerns.

"It is also a positive sign the trust is committed to encouraging the reporting of incidents and to learning from them.

"However, I am concerned by the number of incidents reported.

"Can you tell me how the trust compares to other NHS organisations on patient safety incident reporting and what more could be done to ensure Islanders can be assured of the highest standards of healthcare?"

Mr Seely has written to health secretary Matt Hancock, to tell him he believes the issues are partially caused by a lack of additional funding, which other UK islands receive.

A trust spokesperson said: "We recognise people want the best possible quality of NHS services. An important part of improving our services is making sure our staff are able to report incidents when they happen, so they are properly investigated and lessons are learnt.

"We have worked hard over the last two years to improve how incidents are reported so we can learn those lessons and improve the quality of our services."

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