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NHS chiefs have said that more needs to be done to prevent patients falling when they are in hospital.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence updated guidance in 2013 which was to prevent falls in hospital.

It said that hospitals should look at things such as flooring, lighting, furniture and fittings to help them be as safe as possible.

The report said that people were more likely to fall in hospital because of unfamiliar surroundings.

In one year there were almost 250,000 falls, 250 of which ended in the death of a patient.

Three-quarters of all reported falls involved patients aged over 65. This age group accounts for forty per cent of all patients treated in hospital.

The cost to the NHS for that year was £630 million, according to the health service financial watchdog.

Ruth May, executive director of nursing at NHS Improvement, told The Times: “Falls can have a devastating effect on people, they can set back their recovery and cause them to stay in hospital much longer than they need to.

“No one wants to see a patient suffer harm and I know that trusts are already working round the clock to reduce risks to patient safety and deliver compassionate care. But we also know there is more we can do.”

NHS Improvement has said that if falls in hospitals can be reduced by twenty-five to thirty per cent it would save the NHS £170 million a year.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “We would all hope and expect hospitals to be safe places for older people but this level of falls, unfortunately, brings that into question.”

Dr Eileen Burns, president of the British Geriatrics Society was concerned that delayed discharges that are facing older patients in hospitals across the country are increasing their risk of falls, as they lose muscle mass from long periods of immobility.

Caroline Abrahams added: “These statistics are a graphic demonstration of the need for our hospitals to have enough funding and staff to care effectively for our growing population of older people, including a significant number who are seriously mentally and physically unwell. Sadly, at the moment we can’t be confident that this is the case.”

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