WIRRAL Hospitals NHS Trust made three serious surgical errors in three months – including leaving a foreign body inside a patient.
The trust – which runs Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge hospitals – was responsible for three so-called “never events”, defined as “serious, largely preventable incidents which should not happen”.
By comparison, there were no “never events” recorded in any other Merseyside hospitals between May 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012, the most recent data publicly available.
A report revealed how surgery was carried out on the wrong area of a patient’s body and surgeons used the wrong implant or artificial limb during an operation.
A swab was left within one patient who underwent treatment.
The trust today claimed the wrong implant “never event” was later downgraded after an investigation.
No serious harm was caused to the patients in each of the cases, which all occurred between July and September last year.
NHS Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral – the body which commissions services to the hospital – said the failures were “very serious”.
A board report read: “Never events are serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that may result in death or permanent harm, that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented.
“It is of great concern that Wirral University Teaching Hospital has reported three never events during quarter two (July – Sept 2012).
“One involved wrong site surgery (radiological procedure), one a retained swab and one wrong implant/prosthesis.
“In the three cases the patient did not experience significant/serious harm.
“However it is recognised that the incidents were very serious.”
Wirral hospitals NHS trust said action had been taken as a result of the errors.
A spokesman said: “Patient safety is the trust’s top priority. If any mistake is noted during treatment, this is automatically flagged, investigated and immediate action is taken. We have a culture of openness and transparency in everything we do.
“Regrettably on occasions mistakes can happen, in such instances it is our policy and practice to ensure that as well as taking appropriate action we learn from the incident and share that learning both within our trust and more widely.”
Between January and September 2012 there were 21 never events recorded across all hospitals within the north of England. Six hospitals reported two or more never events.