Recent NHS figures have shown that more than 750 patients in English hospitals have suffered from ‘never events’– serious, preventable mistakes which should simply never happen.
The figure, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as part of a BBC investigation, found that the majority of these incidents fall into the following four categories: surgical instruments or swabs being left inside patients following surgery, surgery carried out on the wrong body part, feeding tubes inserted into patients’ lungs and the fitting of the incorrect prostheses or implants.
Put into context, the NHS state that the risk of a ‘never event’ happening to a patient is 1 in 20,000. However this information is reliant on medical staff accepting responsibility and reporting each time a preventable mistake occurs. Considering that only a small minority of medical accidents give rise to claims, it seems likely that such mistakes are under reported.
When we seek medical advice or treatment, we place a huge amount of trust in a healthcare professional. We usually get the right advice and treatment, but mistakes can be made and the consequences can be very serious. Although preventable mistakes make up a small number compared to the 4.6 million surgical operations performed annually, it is still too many, bearing in mind that if national safety procedures were followed correctly they would never happen.
The NHS has acknowledged that the figures are too high and claims to have introduced new procedures to ‘ensure patient safety’. However, these types of ‘never events’ are inexcusable and health care providers must learn lessons and educate staff on better practice to provide an acceptable level of care to patients.
There are strict time limits for pursuing medical negligence claims. Legal action must be taken within three years of the date from which you first knew, or could reasonably have been expected to know that you were injured as a result of the alleged negligence. If you do not issue proceedings before this date then you will be statute barred and prevented from bringing any further action. It is therefore important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible as there is a great deal of investigatory work to be done before bringing a claim.
If you or a member of your family has suffered an injury due to mistakes made during medical treatment, contact our specialist team of medical negligence solicitors today on 033 3344 9600, who will advise if you are eligible to claim compensation. Alternatively, please complete our online claim form.
Anna Whalley – Solicitor