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NHS leaders tasked with driving out patient 'never events'

More than 300 serious patient safety incidents were reported to strategic health authorities (SHAs) during the past year.

Such “never events” include incidents such as: surgery on the wrong part of the body (70 incidents), surgical instruments being left in the body after an operation (161 incidents), and the wrong implant or prosthesis being attached (41 incidents).

Following an engagement process with health professionals, royal colleges and the public in 2011, the government tripled the number of categories that are defined as a “never event” from eight to 25.

It is claimed the “vast majority” of serious patient safety incidents are surgical and the NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said NHS leaders should examine the data and focus on driving “never events” out of the NHS.

He said there are “simple ways” to prevent them occurring, such as adhering to the Surgical Safety Checklist.
In light of the data the NHS Commissioning Board has set up a taskforce to eradicate “never events” from NHS surgery.