There were nearly 1,200 ‘never events’ in England over the past four years, something the Patients Association has called a “disgrace”.

A ‘never event’ is a serious patient safety incident that can be prevented as long as the correct safety guidelines are implemented.

There are 14 different incidents on the never events list, none of which should ever occur in an NHS hospital or organisation.

But according to an analysis by the Press Association there have been nearly 1,200 never events in England between April 2012 and December 2015.

Specific examples include a male patient who had his entire testicle removed instead of a cyst, and a woman whose fallopian tubes were removed instead of her appendix.

There are further incidents of wrong-site surgery, along with foreign objects being left inside patients after operations, feeding tubes inserted into the lungs instead of a stomach, wrong types of blood infusions and medication errors.

“How are such basic, avoidable mistakes still happening?”

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “It is a disgrace that such supposed ‘never’ incidents are still so prevalent.”

“How are such basic, avoidable mistakes still happening? There is clearly a lack of learning in the NHS. It is especially unforgivable to operate on the wrong organ, and many such mistakes can never be rectified.”

An NHS spokeswoman said: “One never event is too many and we mustn’t underestimate the effect on the patients concerned.”

“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.”

Medical negligence solicitors

If you or your loved one has been harmed by avoidable medical mistakes, please get in touch with us at Glynns Solicitors.

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