What are NHS 'Never Events'?

The NHS defines 'Never Events' as 'wholly preventable as guidance or safety recommendations that provide strong systemic protective barriers are available at a national level and should have been implemented by all healthcare providers.

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A Never Event is effectively clinical negligence that could potentially cause serious harm to a patient. In 2014, the NHS expanded their Never Event list to include 25 areas, from retaining foreign bodies such as surgical instruments inside a patient during surgery to failing to monitor oxygen levels.

The NHS claims that Never Events such as these are preventable and should not occur if specific guidelines and protocols are followed. However, these standards can only be maintained if the right resources are available and sufficient training is given to staff. Due to budget cuts in recent years, the NHS has been unable to provide this, leading to an increase in errors occurring in hospitals and medical practices across Britain.

The NHS has estimated that approximately 12,000 avoidable hospital deaths and 10,000 serious incidents occur every year, 338 of which are deemed as Never Events.

The NHS provides this information in an attempt to improve risk management at all levels. However, it is clear to see that many improvements still need to be made to ensure that patients are treated safely and sufficiently and given the best quality of care available.

Claiming compensation

An individual affected by a Never Event would have to prove that someone else was responsible for the incident to claim compensation. This will involve collecting evidence such as medical reports and the names and addresses of any witnesses, as well as photographs of the scene (if necessary).

Compensation may be available for further medical expenses, travel expenses and loss of earnings as well as pain and suffering.

The compensation award would be dependent on the type of incident, the injuries or illnesses incurred and any long lasting effects e.g. further medical treatment, inability to work.

Clinical negligence claims

NHS negligence injuries are usually categorised as clinical negligence. Click on the icon below for more information.

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