Expert Medical Lawyers Say Never Event Figures Are ‘Shocking and Unacceptable’

Irwin Mitchell Calls For More To Be Done To Prevent Future Avoidable Injuries

29.10.2012

Leading medical lawyers say new figures revealing that over 320 patients across the UK have become injured as a result of NHS never events are ‘shocking and inexcusable’.

The NHS never events is a list of 25 situations that should not occur while treating patients,Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell, who have represented many victims of NHS never events say more must be done to prevent them happening.

Despite the list being published to protect patient safety, new data published by the government today has revealed that over the past two years there have been 326 incidents including:

  • 161 foreign objects were left inside patients after surgery, 
  • 70 patients had surgery on the wrong part of their body,
  • 41 incidents where patients were given the wrong prosthesis or implant (for example knee or hip replacements),
  • 23 misplaced feeding tubes.

Mandy Luckman, a specialist medical lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The number of NHS never events – so called because they are inexcusable and just shouldn’t happen – is shocking. Patient safety should be the number one concern of the NHS and the amount of problems from the never event list that are still occurring regularly is simply unacceptable.

“We work with many clients who suffer serious, and in some cases life-changing, injuries and complications needing months of treatment and rehabilitation, because of NHS never events.

“They just should not happen. Each and every case needs to be reviewed in detail so it can be found how and why it happened and lessons can be learnt to prevent future injuries. Highlighting never events is one thing, the most important step is now to prevent them happening again.”

The Government says comparing these figures with previous years is impossible because the number of never events on the list has increased from eight to 25.