Never events

Count them in and count them out

Never Events as the name would suggest are events within the administration of healthcare that should never happen.  The NHS defines these events as “serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures had been implemented”.

A revised Never Events Policy and Framework was published by NHS England on 27 March 2015, this includes changes to the definition of what a Never Event is and adjustments to the types of incident that are included on the Never Events list, reducing the list from 25 to 14 incident types.

But what exactly are Never Events and how often do they actually happen?  The top two Never Events on the list are the wrong site surgery – for example operating on the wrong knee, eye or even patient!  And retained instrument post-operation which includes things like swabs, throat packs or surgical instruments unintentionally left in a patient after surgery – ouch…

It is good to know that there are guidelines and procedures in place to minimise these Never Events but contradictory to the name they do happen. It is estimated that there are 12,000 avoidable hospital deaths every year, and more than 10,000 serious incidents are reported to NHS England annually, including 338 “Never Events” such as surgery being carried out on the wrong part of the body.

Perhaps the ‘Never’ should read ‘Sometimes’ and if that sometimes event happens to you or someone close to you having the right support to get you through the compensation process is really important, remember the NHS has good legal representation as well.

WBW is highly experienced in this sensitive area of the law. We are the only law firm in South Devon to have members within the Law Society and the AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents) specialist Clinical Negligence panel, the only true mark of specialists in this area.