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NHS trust records seven ‘Never Events’ in eight months

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

The NHS trust that runs Whipps Cross recorded the second highest number of ‘never events’ in the country between April and November last year.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs five east London hospitals, recorded seven of the events – serious, preventable mistakes the NHS feels should never happen.

Examples include operating on the wrong part of the body or leaving something inside a patient after surgery.

A trust in Cornwall recorded the most mistakes, with eight in the eight-month period, which the trust CEO said in November had caused “a great deal of soul-searching”.

What went wrong

NHS data published last month shows the most common mistake made by Barts’ hospitals was leaving an object inside a patient, which happened four times over the period.

The trust also gave medication the wrong way once, carried out a blood transfusion or organ transplant between incompatible blood types and performed one operation on the wrong site.

Barts declined to give any more specific details about these incidents at the time of writing.

A Barts Health spokesperson said: “There were seven instances of never events across the trust from April to November 2020.

“Patient safety is our highest priority and we take these incidents very seriously.

“An investigation is carried out whenever such an event takes place and learnings are made to reduce the risk of recurrence in the future.”

Neighbouring Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which runs King George Hospital and Queen’s Hospital, recorded two.

These were a surgery on the wrong site and an object left inside a patient.

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