Medical Negligence

Private healthcare: 21 serious negligence incidents in 2019

Estimated read time: 2 mins

Carrie Tennick, September 03, 2020

Private healthcare providers were responsible for 21 preventable cases of serious medical negligence – known as never events.

A never event is defined by the NHS as a serious incident that is “wholly preventable” because of guidance or safety recommendations in place that should have been implemented by all healthcare providers. These incidents are known as never events since they should never happen.

These incidents are typically rare but they can have lasting and devastating consequences for the health of the affected patient, according to the Care Quality Commission.

The most recent figures on never events by NHS healthcare providers show that 60 patients suffered from these serious incidents between April and July of this year.

Never events experienced

The new figures have been provided by the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), which gathered information from 287 independent hospitals and NHS Private Patient Units.

According to the PHIN, there were 11 incidents of clinicians providing the wrong implant or prosthesis, while five patients underwent surgery at the wrong site.

Two more patients were found to have retained a foreign object after their procedure, while another two had medication administered by the wrong route.

There was also an incident reported of a patient suffering from the mis-selection of a strong potassium solution, rather than receiving a different medication.

Reporting incidents to improve services

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, chair of the PHIN, said: “The publication of these never events is an important step change in transparency. This will be helpful for patients when deciding the right provider for their care, but it is also important that the information is available to hospitals, consultants and others within the sector.”

He went on to add that never events have to be reported in order for lessons to be learnt. Reporting them is also vital for action to be taken to help ensure these kinds of serious incidents “cannot happen again”.

Dr Vallance-Owen explained that the reporting, investigation and learning that comes from a never event should always lead to an improvement in processes and the quality of care that patients receive.

He added that the PHIN hoped that publication of these incidents will “stimulate that process of continuous improvement”.

What to do after a never event

If you have suffered any form of medical negligence by a private healthcare provider, you could be able to make a claim for compensation to help you right that wrong.

Our specialist solicitors can help you take action against private providers who have caused you harm. To find out more about how we can make the process more straightforward, just give us a call, request a call back or start your claim online.

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