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During the period 2001 to 2007, 13 136 reports of adverse events in specialized health services were registered in MedEvent (the Reporting System for Adverse Events in Specialized Health Services). Such events involve a duty to report to the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision in the counties, in accordance with the Specialized Health Services Act, section 3-3.

About half of the events (52 per cent) were reports of events that could have led to serious injury to patients, and one-third (36 per cent) were reports of serious injury. One out of ten (10 %) were reports of unnatural death.

During this period, there is large variation in the frequency of reporting, measured as the number of reports per 10 000 days of stay in hospital. This variation is seen both for the regional health authorities and for the health trusts.

Southern and Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority has the highest frequency of reporting. The health trusts with the highest frequency of reporting are: Sykehuset Østfold HF, Sykehuset Asker og Bærum HF, and Blefjell sykehus HF.

Five per cent of all reports of adverse events from 2001 to 2007 were related to childbirth.

Twenty-seven per cent of all reports were related to the use of medication.

The proportion of reports of adverse events that had occurred in mental health services was 17 per cent.

Seventeen per cent of all reports were related to falls.

The results indicate that there is great variation in the extent to which hospitals fulfil their duty to report adverse events. The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision believes that the hospitals with the highest reporting frequency are not necessarily the hospitals where the most events occur. A high frequency of reporting may reflect a positive reporting culture and that work with improving the quality of services is functioning well.