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Patients had wrong parts of body operated on at New Cross Hospital

By Alex Ross | Wolverhampton | Health | Published:

Four hospital patients at a Black Country hospital were harmed in incidents that should never happen between April and July, according to latest figures.

New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton

The incidents - called 'never events' - took place at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.

They were two patients being operated on the wrong parts of their body and two cases of foreign objects left inside patients.

Only one other hospital trust in England, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, recorded more of the incidents, five, over the three months.

No other Black Country or Staffordshire hospital trust recorded incidents in the period, however the story was different in February and March.

During that period, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust both recorded one, each for 'wrong site surgery'.

The figures were published by NHS Improvement this week.

Dr Jonathan Odum, medical director at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross Hospital, said: “The trust treats all never events very seriously. We are clear that never events should not happen.

“We have strict processes in place for the reporting of such incidents.

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"In all of the cases the patients and their families were fully informed and we have shared the outcomes of the investigations with them.

“Following the investigations lessons have been learnt and shared with all staff.

"While we are clear that never events should not happen, they occur infrequently.”

Th figures today come in a week it emerged there were more deaths than expected from the trust in 2017.

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There should have been 2,179 deaths at the hospital or within 30 days of discharge in 2017, according to NHS estimates.

But 2,654 people died. The NHS said the figures should act as a 'smoke alarm' for further investigation.

A Wolverhampton Mortality Review Group is being set up to review all deaths, led by the city's clinical commissioning group.

Dr Helen Hibbs, accountable officer at Wolverhampton CCG, said: "Wolverhampton Mortality Review Group has been set up to help us understand the recent mortality data. It brings together all the organisations involved in end of life care including GPs, the local authority, public health and local hospitals.

"We will review the outcomes from the group later this year.

'We regularly monitor our hospitals' performance and the care patients receive using a wide range of qualitative and quantitative information.

"We currently have no concerns about the quality of care at New Cross Hospital."

In total, nationally, there were 126 never events across April, May and June.

Fifty one of those were for surgery on the wrong parts of a patient's body.

They included a wrong toe removed and a patient given laser eye surgery intended for someone else.

Twenty five of 126 were for retained foreign objects post an operation.

Items left in patient bodies included pieces of metal and wiring.

The wrong implant or prosthesis was given to 18 patients. Six patients received the wrong hip, while four the incorrect knee.

A spokesman for the NHS said hospital trusts do not receive financial penalties as a result of the event.

He said: "The concept of never events is not about apportioning blame to organisations

"When these incidents occur but rather to learn from what happened.

"Our removal of financial sanctions should not be interpreted as a weakening of effort to prevent Never Events.

"It is about emphasising the importance of learning from their occurrence, not blaming.

"Identifying and addressing the reasons behind this can potentially improve safety in ways that extend far beyond the department where the Never Event occurred or the type of procedure involved."

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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