‘Never events’ in the news as lessons not being learnt

‘Never events’ are just that, they should never happen and yet in the NHS there are some shocking incidents still being recorded on a daily basis.   Data published by NHS England reveal that there have been 254 never events from April 2015 to the end of December 2015 and it looks like it will be in line with previous years figures by March with 306 events recorded for year 14/15, 338 for 13/14 and 290 for year 12/13.

Events recorded have included accidental removal of a testical instead of a cycst, fallopian tube instead of an appendix, patients have been given the wrong type of implant or joint replacement.  The wrong eyes have been operated on, the wrong medication or blood given and foreign surgical objects left inside a person after surgery.

According to an NHS spokesperson:
“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 put in place, on rare occasions these incidents do occur.

“To better understand the reasons why, in 2013 we commissioned a taskforce to investigate, leading to a new set of national standards being published last year specifically to support doctors, nurses and hospitals to prevent these mistakes.

“Any organisation that reports a serious incident is also expected to conduct its own investigation so it can learn and take action to prevent similar incidents from being repeated.”

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