The national director of patient safety at NHS England, which released today's 'never ever' findings, said that the risk of such serious medical errors "has never been smaller" and said that it "has always been the case" that mistakes will occur among healthcare professionals.
– Dr Mike Durkin, national director of patient safety at NHS England
Every single never event puts patients at risk of harm which is avoidable.
People who suffer severe harm because of mistakes can suffer serious physical and psychological effects for the rest of their lives, and that should never happen to anyone who seeks treatment from the NHS.
But is time for some real openness and honesty. There are risks involved with all types of healthcare.
And one of those risks - with the best will in the world and the best doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in the world - is that things can go wrong and mistakes can be made.
Some of the 'never events' that have occurred in the NHS over the six months from April to September this year:
- 69 cases where foreign objects - including surgical swabs, specimen retrieval bags, wires, a drill guide block and a needle - were left inside patients
- 37 patients had the wrong part of their body operated on - including a woman who had the wrong fallopian tube removed during an ectopic pregnancy
- A patient underwent an unnecessary heart procedure, while another was wrongly given a colonoscopy
- One patient underwent surgery meant for someone else "due to incorrect results filed in notes"
- 21 patients were given the wrong implant or prosthesis
- One patient died as a result of failure to monitor their oxygen levels, another from heavy bleeding following a planned C-section
- Wrongly inserted tubes and administering the wrong type of gas or drugs resulted in the deaths or severe harm of seven patients.
There were 148 'never events' - NHS patients harmed by incidents that should never happen - in the six months from April to September, NHS England figures show.
Cases include the wrong patient receiving heart surgery, one woman who had her fallopian tube removed instead of her appendix and patients given overdoses.