Adverse events recorded in English primary care: observational study using the General Practice Research Database

Carmen Tsang, Alex Bottle, Azeem Majeed, Paul Aylin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: More accurate and recent estimates of adverse events in primary care are necessary to assign resources for improvement of patient safety, while predictors must be identified to ameliorate patient risk., AIM: To determine the incidence of recorded iatrogenic harm in general practice and identify risk factors for these adverse events., DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional sample of 74,763 patients at 457 English general practices between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2008, obtained from the General Practice Research Database., METHOD: Patient age at study entry, sex, ethnicity, deprivation, practice region, duration registered at practice, continuity of care, comorbidities, and health service use were extracted from the data. Adverse events were defined by Read Codes for complications of care (Chapters S, T, and U). Crude and adjusted analyses were performed by Poisson regression, using generalised estimating equations., RESULTS: The incidence was 6.0 adverse events per 1000 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.74 to 6.27), equivalent to eight adverse events per 10,000 consultations (n = 2,540,877). After adjustment, patients aged 65-84 years (risk ratio [RR] = 5.62, 95% CI = 4.58 to 6.91; P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e534-e342
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number613
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adolescent Adult Age Distribution Aged Aged, 80 and over Child Child, Preschool England/ep [Epidemiology] Epidemiologic Methods Female *General Practice/sn [Statistics & Numerical Data] Humans *Iatrogenic Disease/ep [Epidemiology] Infant Male *Medical Errors/sn [Statistics & Numerical Data] Middle Aged Sex Distribution Young Adult


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