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NHS England calls for local standards on surgery 'never events'

NHS England wants providers to take action to reduce mistakes during invasive procedures

NHS providers have been told to review their clinical practice and develop local standards for invasive procedures to reduce the number of 'never events'. 

A patient safety alert issued by NHS England says local standards based on the national safety standards for invasive procedures, which were published last week, must be introduced throughout the NHS in the next year. The national standards are designed to reduce the number of surgical ‘never events’. They include measures to prevent foreign objects being left inside the patient’s body, and guidance on safety briefings before and following surgery.

Provisional NHS England figures on never events show there were 126 instances of wrong-site surgery between April last year and March this year. Foreign objects were found post-procedure on 102 occasions in the same period. 

NHS providers must identify all clinical procedures to which the national safety standards for invasive procedures apply, and for these procedures, develop local standards based on the national framework. 

The national safety standards for invasive procedures are endorsed by all the royal colleges, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Care Quality Commission and other national bodies. 

NHS England director of patient safety, Mike Durkin, said: ‘This is the first time national safety standards have been set and endorsed by all relevant professional bodies. The engagement and support of these organisations provides the leadership to ensure the standards will be wholeheartedly embraced across the NHS.’

To read the full alert, click here

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