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Why do patients continue to be harmed by NHS never events?

At the end of this month, NHS England is expected to publish its review of ‘never events’ - patient safety incidents that should never occur if the adequate preventative measures have been taken.

The specialist medical negligence team at JMW has handled numerous cases on behalf of patients and families who have endured pain and suffering due to NHS never events.

One never event that the team at JMW has encountered on numerous occasions is the leaving of medical equipment in a patient following surgery. This is deemed to be a never event due to the risk of serious harm being caused.

I am currently investigating one such incident which caused significant pain and distress for the patient. In other cases the team at JMW has handled the patient has been very seriously injured as they have developed severe and disabling infection.

Despite the never events list, which is designed to ensure all NHS staff are aware of these patient safety incidents and follow procedures to prevent them, they continue to regularly occur.

Perhaps all too often medical professionals view them as ‘just one of those things’, training is an issue or staff are too stretched to take adequate preventative measures.

Addressing the root cause of never events could help to protect patients and ensure that these incidents do not escalate as the health service falls under increased pressure.

The current list of NHS never events can be viewed here

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