More needs to be done to cut hospital mistakes after figures revealed more than 40,000 medication errors in one year, the health regulator said yesterday.
Hospital trusts across the West Midlands were named and shamed by the Healthcare Commission for poor medicine management, and urged to improve how they prescribe and dispense drugs.
Only 18 trusts in the Healthcare Commission's annual national medicines management review were rated as "excellent", while 70 were said to be "good", 73 "fair" and 12 "weak".
South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, George Eliot Hospital, and Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust were among the 12.
University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust and the city's Queen Elizabeth Hospital were rated "fair".
Trusts were measured on 21 areas, including whether patients had undergone a comprehensive medicines review and if they had a complete medicine record for their hospital stay.
South Warwickshire scored lowest at enabling patients to administer their medication, and on progress tackling hospital infections such as MRSA.
"If a patient has Parkinson's disease it is important they get their drugs at the right time," explained a Healthcare Commission spokeswoman. "Sometimes nurses on busy wards find they can't do this, so it affects quality of life."
A spokeswoman for South Warwickshire said since the data had been collected it had continued to improve medicines management.
"While the Trust manages its use of antibiotics very well it scored low because we didn't have a strategy document. This has been rectified.
Despite the overall weak assessment we scored well in areas such as the percentage of patients receiving medical reviews in 24 hours," she said.
UHB scored highly on its risk assessment procedures when preparing unlicensed drugs, but poorly on the number of patients on more than four medicines receiving a comprehensive review.
Of the wrongly dispensed medication, around 80 per cent of cases (around 32,000) caused no harm, about 15 per cent (around 6,000) caused low harm, and around five per cent (around 2,000) caused moderate or severe harm.
The report said pharmacists needed to spend more time on the wards to minimise errors, with 11 of the 12 trusts that scored weak overall performing poorly in this area.
The Commission's chief executive, Anna Walker, said: "There is plenty of good news on medicines management.
"Overall, most trusts seem to be getting the basics right when it comes to managing medicines safely, although it is clear that some organisations are better than others.
"But our hospitals still have some way to go when it comes to involving patients in decisions about medicine.
"Trusts need to do more talking to patients about their medicines and their potential side-effects."
A spokeswoman for the National Patient Safety Agency said about 95 per cent of the mistakes, which included giving the wrong dose or type of drug, caused no or low levels of harm to patients.