Posted by James Millar Craig,
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Anger over “unforgivable” clinical errors
Concerns have been raised that more than 1,000 patients have suffered as a result of so-called “never incidents” over the course of the past four years.
The cases are so named because they are deemed to be so serious that they shouldn’t actually have been allowed to happen.
Among the most disturbing clinical errors were 400 examples of individuals who had surgery on the wrong part of the body and a similar number who had foreign objects, such as surgical instruments, left inside them following an operation.
Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients’ Association, described the situation as “disgraceful.”
“With all the systems and procedures that are in place within the NHS, how are such basic, avoidable mistakes still happening?
“There is clearly a lack of learning across the NHS, or even within individual Trusts. “These 1,100 patients have been very badly let down by poor processes and utter carelessness. It is especially unforgivable to operate on the wrong organ, and many such mistakes can never be rectified, leaving patients harmed for life.”
NHS England said that the mistakes affected an average of one operation in 20,000 but acknowledged that standards needed to improve.
A spokeswoman said: “One ‘never event’ is too many and we mustn’t underestimate the effect on the patients concerned.
“To better understand the reasons why, in 2013 we commissioned a taskforce to investigate, leading to a new set of national standards being published last year specifically to support doctors, nurses and hospitals to prevent these mistakes.”
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