Could you identify a 'never event'?

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07 March, 2018

Leonie Millard

In 2018 the Government published the Revised Never Events Policy and framework. A never event, should as the words suggest, not happen. It is a serious and entirely preventable event because at National level there are safety recommendations and guidance providing a strong protective barrier which should have been adopted by all health care providers.

Summary of changes;

  • The removal of the options to impose financial sanctions on a trust reporting never events, which in theory should mean they are not deterred from doing so.
  • To align the never events policy and framework with a serious incident framework, to achieve consistency across the two documents.
  • Revisions to the list of never events, including two additional types of never event.

The serious incident framework is linked to patient safety and identifies the framework to identify, investigate and learn with the aim of preventing similar incidents happening again.

Despite this framework there has not been a reduction in avoidable injury.

The APIL President, Brett Dixon summarises the situation;

"So-called NHS 'never events' - injuries which are serious and largely preventable - have stayed at the same level in the past two years." Drawing on information gained from a request under the Freedom of Information Act, he said: "Analysis of information provided by NHS Resolution… shows that failure of maternity care represented a quarter of the damages paid out to injured patients in 2016/17. Failure in maternity care has been identified for years as a major problem for the NHS yet little seems to have changed."

Perhaps greater openness and awareness of the never events policy will lead to change and fewer medical negligence claims. This starts with a reduction in avoidable injury.

For guidance, If you think you have experienced a 'never event', or serious incident that has caused needless harm please contact solicitor Leonie Millard in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 770517. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Clinical Negligence department here

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