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The NHS operates on the wrong body part of patients once a week costing the Department for Health millions in litigation claims.
That is the admission from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has launched a campaign to improve hositals' safety.
Hunt wants to make safety records more transparent so patients can see for themselves what a hospital's record is.
He believes it will encourage hospitals to improve standards quicker and develop a more "honest" culture across the NHS.
"We are very proud of how safe the NHS is but we can do better and we must never be complacent," Hunt told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.
"And certainly the number of avoidable deaths is too high. Once a week we operate on the wrong part of someone's body. That's not acceptable.
"This is really a very big moment because we have identified that the key to this is having an open and honest reporting culture.
"The NHS is there for patients and if a hospital had problems with its reporting culture I think patients have a right to know that and I think the fact that patients know that is likely to mean that the hospital takes quicker action."
Hospitals are supposed to record deaths and accidents in its Patient Safety Incidents, but a Department of Health investigation revealed 29 out of 130 hospital trusts in England are not always reporting faults.
Under the new Sign Up To Safety scheme, hospital trusts will be rated; 'good', 'okay' or 'poor' on measures including infection prevention, falls and pressure ulcers.