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Never Events

Posted on July 28th 2022

Recently, Sky News reported that over 407 ‘Never Events’ had occurred in NHS England alone between April 2021 and March 2022. ‘Never Events’ are events which are so serious they should never happen, defined as ‘serious, large preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if healthcare providers have implemented existing national guidance or safety recommendations.’

The consequences of ‘Never Events’ can be catastrophic and can even be fatal.

Between 2021 and 2022, the number of ‘Never Events’ has risen considerably, now resulting in nearly 8 serious events per week in England alone.

Among the 407 events between April 2021 and March 2022, the following events have been reported to have occurred:

  • foreign objects were left inside patients after an operation by mistake, ranging from surgical swabs to a pair of wire cutters, part of a scalpel blade and a bolt from surgical forceps.
  • surgery being carried out on wrong body parts. For example, one woman had her ovaries removed by mistake and patients had hip implants inserted in the wrong hip.
  • patients also received the wrong blood type during a blood transfusion
  • having a breast procedure they had not consented to.

The Trusts which were found negligent in these events are reportedly implementing a NHS Patient Safety Strategy which is designed to support staff to provide safe care and learn lessons from these mistakes.

If you feel like you have been affected by any of these events, please contact our Clinical Negligence team on 01244 354 688 or email

Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306