Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Clinical Incidents and Complaints at a UK Teaching Hospital
To investigate any associations between new clinical policies implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic and harm to patients. Methods: Retrospective data collection of incidents and complaints reported through Datix®, and the Patient Liaison Service respectively. The setting was the Family Health division in a University teaching hospital in the UK. Primary and secondary outcome measures included; Proportion of incidents reported on Datix from 23/3/20 to 25/5/20, compared to the period
... red to the period from 23/3/19 to 29/5/19. COVID-19 related incidents and complaints and association with newly published guidelines or pathways from 23/3/20 to 29/5/20. Results: There was no significant difference in the proportion of overall patient activity resulting in incidents reported on Datix in 2020 (2.08%) compared to 2019 (2.09%), with 98% resulting in no/low harm in 2020. Three incident categories had increases in relative proportions of incidents including terms “COVID” or “Corona” compared to incidents that did not; “Child death”, “delay/failure to treatment and procedure” and “information governance”. One of the child deaths was a miscarriage and we were unable to link the second child death to a change in clinical policy at this stage. We were only able to link 2 COVID-19 associated incidents with a pathway or procedural change (one to the Children's Emergency Department admission pathway and the second to the introduction of virtual antenatal clinics). Eighteen complaints related to COVID-19 were logged. However, at this stage, we are unable to link any of these to a published change in clinical policy. Conclusions: Practice in the division was overall deemed to be safe in the designated period, with only 2 COVID-19 related incidents clearly related to a change in pathways and procedures. Continued surveillance and improved metrics for monitoring the impact of changes to pathways and procedures should be sought with the sustained presence of COVID-19 in clinical areas.