NHS England reports more than 1,000 never events in four years

Incidents included foreign objects being left inside patients' bodies post-surgery

There were more than 1,000 ‘never events’ in the past four years in the NHS in England.

According to NHS England data, there were 1,188 never events between April 2012 and December 2015.

These never events – serious incidents that should be avoidable – included a patient’s ovaries being removed in error, operations on the wrong body parts and foreign objects such as scalpels and swabs being left inside the body following surgery.

Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said: ‘It is a disgrace that incidents which are supposed never to happen are still so prevalent.’

A NHS England spokesperson said: ‘One never event is too many and we mustn’t underestimate the effect on the patients concerned. 

‘However there are 4.6 million hospital admissions that lead to surgical care each year and, despite stringent measures, on rare occasions, these incidents do occur.’

He added that a set of standards was published last year and organisations should conduct their own investigations to prevent similar mistakes in future.


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