Health boards in Scotland are under the safety spotlight after hundreds of serious incidents - including patient deaths - that took place last year were uncovered by a Freedom of Information request.

An investigation by BBC Scotland has revealed details of more than 300 serious incidents that occurred within the National Health Service in Scotland in 2011, including 105 patients deaths.

The "secret" reports, which have now been published by the BBC, include fatal incidences such as an explosion after a patient lit cigarette while on oxygen therapy, missing emergency equipment, medication errors, and procedural glitches meaning that patients died before transfers could be arranged.

Significant variation in the classification of serious events, how they were reported and how they were dealt with by the health boards was also revealed by the investigation.

For example, Greater Glasgow, which looks after the largest population out of the health boards in Scotland, reported just 95 incidents, while Shetland booked 138 in a year.

Commenting on the findings, Scottish public services ombudsman Jim Martin told the BBC they paint a "confusing picture".

“If we had a simple national system it would be far easier to ask a simple question of the health service and get a clear statistical answer," he noted.

The Scottish government is reportedly carrying out a review of incident reporting throughout the health service.