Four patients get the wrong surgery at district hospitals

Ilkley Gazette: Concern: Dr Andrew Catto Concern: Dr Andrew Catto

Four patients were given the wrong surgery at hospitals in the Bradford district, NHS bosses have revealed.

They were the victims of so-called never events – blunders so serious experts say they should never happen.

Now three hospitals have been rapped by a health chief and told such incidents are “completely unacceptable”.

Professor Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said a surgery safety taskforce would complete a review in the New Year.

And he said: “However rare these cases are, never should mean never and avoiding such errors should be the priority of every surgeon.”

The four cases include two at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and one at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. The fourth blunder was committed by the Yorkshire Clinic, a private health firm that treats NHS patients at its base in Bingley.

It is the first time NHS England has released detailed information for the number – and type – of never events at each hospital trust between April and September. A spokesman for the Bradford Trust said two mistakes were when the patient was given local rather than general anaesthetic in outpatient departments.

He added: “As soon as the incidents had been identified both patients were informed and offered corrective treatment. No significant harm resulted.

“A full investigation was subsequently undertaken and changes were made to local protocols to improve the margin of safety.”

The Airedale Trust said it could not reveal full details of the case because of data protection rules but said it was a day case involving a dental patient.

Dr Andrew Catto, its executive medical director, said: “I appreciate how concerning this may be for patients and relatives. However this is the first recorded incident of a never event for the trust.

“We are very disappointed by it and the matter has been taken extremely seriously by the whole organisation.

“We have made changes to our processes by including an additional verbal check prior to all dental procedures.”

Across England, 148 patients were harmed, including the wrong person receiving heart surgery and one woman who had a fallopian tube removed instead of her appendix.

The most common mistake was failure to remove swabs, while other objects left inside patients included throat packs, wires, needles – and even a drill guide block.

NHS England said its review will lead to standardised operating theatre procedures and better staff education and training.

Dr Mike Durkin, national director of patient safety, said: “People who suffer severe harm because of mistakes can suffer serious physical and psychological effects for the rest of their lives.”

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