‘Never Events’ Continue to Elevate Risk of Clinical Negligence in UK Hospitals

By Blackwater Law

According to data released by health watchdog NHS Improvements, July 2016 saw a continuance in the upward trend of “never event” occurrence in UK hospitals, highlighting a worrying trend towards greater risks of clinical negligence facing hospital patients.

Never events” represent critical, catastrophic failures in the delivery of care that rank so seriously they should never in fact be allowed to happen. When they do, patients are left in a position where they may be entitled to medical negligence compensation as recompense for unnecessary suffering and loss, making it all the more important for a cash-strapped NHS to prevent them, if prevention of suffering is not reason enough. Nonetheless, NHS Improvements recorded no fewer than 31 July Never Events; up to three on the preceding month and averaging one for every day of the month.

NHS Trusts Across the UK Continue to Make Serious Errors

Failures serious enough to be classified as Never Events include the likes of surgery being performed on the wrong part of the body, patients foreign objects being left inside patients post-surgery, incorrect medication administration and more. Whilst seemingly fundamental errors to make, it seems that NHS trusts across the UK continue to fail patients in these ways at an alarming rate. July saw a staggering 15 incidents of surgery at the wrong location on patients’ bodies, 4 patients retaining a foreign object post-surgery, 4 incidents of patients being fitted with the wrong implant or prosthesis, 3 incorrect methods of medication administration, 2 incidences of misplaced naso or orogastric tubes, an insulin overdose, 1 count of potassium being administered instead of saline and even a patient overdose of methotrexate whilst undergoing non-cancer treatment. Each one of the incidents represents a potential for clinical negligence, given the serious failing of staff in their duty of care towards the patient(s).

Multiple Surgical Errors Made at UK Hospitals

July’s most notable finding was for Barts Health NHS Trust; which recorded 1 incidence of surgery at the wrong site, and 1 of incorrect medication administration, and the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; which saw one patient fitted with an incorrect implant/prosthesis and another retain a foreign object post-surgery. The remaining 27 Never Events occurred at hospitals situated across the country, indicating a growing nationwide trend sure to concern patients and clinical negligence solicitors alike. More worrying still, 3 further failures judged to be deserving of Never Event status were reported during July, but were later found to have occurred outside the dates under examination.

July Increase in ‘Never Events’ Suggests a Worrying Trend

July’s increase in the rate of “never events” follows a similar increase in June 2016, and paints a concerning picture of an NHS struggling to cope, and provide the necessary standards of care. The incidents cited are fundamental errors indicative of a failure to deliver a reasonable level of care we all would expect as a minimum.
If you or a family member has been affected by a “never event” at your local healthcare provider, you could be entitled to claim clinical negligence compensation. Contact Blackwater Law clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 083 5500, and receive specialist and free initial legal advice from a clinical negligence lawyer.