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“Never Events” and the NHS

“Never Events” and the NHS

At a time when the NHS is facing challenges with Government funding cuts and an ageing population, public support for this great institution is running high. Yet with 308 ‘never events’ taking place in England between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015, more still needs to be done to prevent them.


A ‘never event’ is a serious but largely preventable incident which affects the health and wellbeing of the patient. The ‘never event’ could have been avoided had the proper procedures and guidelines been followed and the task have been carried out in accordance with health and safety guidelines.

According to the NHS England guidelines there are 25 categories that constitute a ‘never event’ . These include the retention of foreign object post procedure or wrongly prepared high-risk injectable medication. The most common of these ‘never events’ is wrong site surgery, where surgery was carried out on the wrong limb, wrong organ or even the wrong patient. This grossly negligent practice occurred a staggering 126 times between April of last year and March of this year.

If a ‘never event’ occurs the hospital and/or NHS trust will find it very difficult to defend any claim submitted, it is highly likely that the NHS trust will admit liability/beach of duty in the claim. However it’s important to note that even if breach of duty is conceded you as a Claimant must still prove causation, this is where our specialist knowledge and guidance can assist.

Statistics released by NHS England last month show these types of catastrophic incidents are occurring in hospitals all over England, with Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust topping the tables. A staggering nine have taken place at the Trust including one “wrong implant”, five counts of items being left inside a patient’s body, and three separate “wrong site” surgeries.

Other top scorers on the ‘never event’ wall of shame include Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, with eight and seven respectively. Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, condemned the “utterly unacceptable” results.

“Incidents of “wrong site surgery” and “retained foreign objects” are utterly unacceptable and pose a huge risk to patient safety,” she told BBC News. “A visit to hospital can be highly stressful at the best of times and at the very least, patients deserve to be treated in a safe, regulated environment.”

The NHS as a whole and individual staff are said to be doing their best to bring these figures down. (Over the same period the previous year there were 338 ‘never events’ incidents so standards are improving). However, more needs to be done by the Government and all who work within the NHS to ensure that ‘never’ does indeed mean ‘never’.

Making a Claim

Have you or someone you know been affected by a ‘never event’?
With Been Let Down as your Solicitor it’s easy to find out if you may be entitled to compensation. Our friendly Solicitors will discuss your claim with you free of charge. Just contact us by the Freephone telephone or via the simple initial contact claim form on our website. You will be called back promptly by one of our highly experienced Solicitors to discuss your situation further.

Unlike other legal firms, with us you will be speaking to an actual Solicitor from day one, although all initial consultations will of course be free and at no obligation to yourself. We will listen sensitively to the details of your claim, and if we decide that you have a good case in negligence with a reasonable chance of success, then we most likely offer to pursue your claim for you on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis.

It’s best not to hold back in getting the advice you need, all medical negligence claims have time limits in which proceedings must be commenced. So you have nothing to lose in contacting us, and you have no obligation to proceed. Get in contact today and find out if you can claim for compensation.



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