The number of medication errors across the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK rose significantly in 2007 with 37 deaths and 63 cases of severe harm reported, according to new figures.

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) report analysed 72,482 medication errors reported by frontline NHS staff in acute, mental health and primary care sectors in England and Wales.

Inaccurate medicine administration and prescription were the major causes of the most serious medication errors, the report said.

The NPSA said that the increased number of incidents indicated that the NHS has improved its reporting culture and is willing to come forward when mistakes have been made.