General practice adverse events rising

Data came from a sample of 74,763 patients attending 457 general practices from 1999 to 2008. Adverse events were identified by the diagnostic codes for injury and poisoning in the General Practice Research Database.

The researchers found eight adverse events per 10,000 consultations, an incidence of 6/1000 patient-years. The incidence of adverse events rose from 3.8/1000 patient-years in 1999 to 7.6/1000 patient-years in 2007.

Adverse events increased with patient age. The incidence in those over the age of 85 years was 19/1000 patient-years.

Most of the harm was related to drugs or surgery.