Provisional Never Event data reveals 393 potential occurrences of medical negligence

Provisional data released by NHS Improvements has shown that there are 393 Serious Incidents that meet the definition of a Never Event during the time period 1st April 2017 – 31st January 2018, showing the scale of potential medical negligence across NHS Trusts. Here, medical negligence solicitors Blackwater Law discuss the latest data.

NHS Trusts have a responsibility to report Serious Incidents when they have occurred, the most serious of which are classified as Never Events. Never Events are largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if national guidelines or safety recommendations are followed. Never Events are different to Serious Incidents in that even a single occurrence of a Never Event should act as a red flag that an NHS Trusts’ current procedures or policies may not be robust enough, to put simply a Never Event should never occur.

October 2017 showed the highest number of Never Events being reported, with 58 being reported during this month alone. In contrast, September and December 2017 showed the lowest reported number of Never Events with 27 being recorded each month.

Examples of Never Events

The serious nature of Never Events means that there is a defined list of the types of events that would be classified as Never Events. From the 1st of April 2017 – the 31st of January 2018 the below Never Events have been reported:

172 incidents of wrong-site surgery, including 3 incidents of ovaries being removed during a hysterectomy when the plan was to conserve them and 27 incidents of the wrong tooth/teeth being removed. The high number of wrong-site surgery that has taken place gives rise to surgical error claims for those affected.

97 incidents of retained foreign object post-procedure.

There were 60 incidents of patients receiving the wrong implant/prosthesis.

Naso or oro-gastric tubes were misplaced on 21 occasions.

Which hospitals recorded the most Never Events?

The below NHS Trusts have recorded the highest number of Never Events, potentially giving rise to a hospital negligence claim.

Guys & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust – 10

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust – 8

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust – 7

Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 7

Heatherwood & Wrexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 6

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust – 6

Barts Health NHS Trust – 6

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – 6

When a Never Event has occurred the patient should be informed, if it is proven that medical negligence did occur then it may be possible to pursue an NHS Serious Incident claim in order to seek compensation for any suffering incurred as a result.

Given that the data is only provisional, it is important to point out that the numbers shown above are subject to change. However, it is argued that it does provide a picture of the occurrence of medical negligence occurring across the NHS.


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