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NHS must learn from mistakes to avoid serious incidents happening – Kirsty Williams

2013 Mai 14 12:42 PM

Research by the Welsh Liberal Democrats has revealed that over the past four years, 24 serious medical errors classed as 'never events' have been reported to the Welsh Government by Local Health Boards.

Never events are serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures had been implemented. These are incidents that are so serious they should never happen.

A Freedom of Information request to the Welsh Labour Government reveals that the mistakes fell into three categories. There were 10 cases of foreign objects left inside the body; 8 cases of surgery on the wrong part of the body and 5 cases of tubes, which are used for feeding patients or for medication, being inserted into patients' lungs.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

"While I understand that mistakes are made in our health service, it is particularly important that the NHS learns from its mistakes that are on this scale.

"'Never events' are very serious incidents in the NHS that are preventable because guidance has already been issued to explain how risks and harm could be prevented.

"It is quite disconcerting that we still see incidents where plastic tubes and hypodermic needles are left in the patient after an operation or a procedure has been carried out on the wrong part of the body. It is also of great concern that half of these serious incidents happened in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Clearly, this Local Health Board needs to constantly review its procedures to avoid incidents like this happening in the future.

"I can appreciate that over four years, 24 incidents doesn't seem that serious but when NHS labels them as 'never events', we shouldn't be seeing any cases of this severity at all.

"It is important that the Welsh NHS learns from its mistakes so that cases like these can be avoided in the future."