“Never Events” are patient safety incidents that have the potential to cause serious patient harm or death but are wholly preventable if there were strong national level safety recommendation that are implemented by healthcare providers.

The NHS has identified 15 categories of Never Events including surgical, medication, mental health and general incidents.

In theory, Never Events should highlight shortfalls in the healthcare providers’ patient safety system and provide them with the opportunities to fix what went wrong.  Unfortunately, since 2015, there have been 400-500 “Never Events” recorded every year (except 2020-21 which had 364 Never Events most likely due to the Covid pandemic).

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) published its report on Never Events in 2021. HSIB found that staff fatigue, interruptions resulting in missed actions during a task, and performance targets which pressure staff to work to quickly are amongst the leading reasons for Never Events. With the ever-increasing strain on the NHS only leading to escalation of these factors, the level of Never Events must be carefully observed.

After every Never Event, the NHS is required to conduct an investigation into the event in order to try and prevent it happening again. The patient has a right to be involved in the investigation and to be provided with the results. This gives the patient the opportunity to respond to the investigation’s findings and potentially make a claim for compensation.

For further information on this topic or on any other legal area, please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372 303444 or email admin@audleychaucer.com or visit our Linkedin page at https://www.linkedin.com/company/audley-chaucer-solicitors/


Author John Szepietowski

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