Number of “never events” at Colchester Hospital are highest in the country

NHS England provisional figures have raised concerns over the high levels of serious incidents at two NHS hospitals in Essex. In 2014 – 2015, Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust and Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust feature first and third highest respectively in the number of “never events” that occurred in England.


Additionally, Colchester Hospital reported 420 “serious incidents” during the same period. The Trust is currently under investigation by the police over allegations that it manipulated cancer data in 2013.


What is a “never event”?


‘Never events’ are classed as serious medical incidents that should never happen if the relevant protocols and preventative measures have been implemented. Such mistakes have the potential to cause serious harm or even death and include:


  • wrong site surgery
  • surgery performed on the wrong patient
  • surgical instruments left in the patient
  • wrong route administration of chemotherapy
  • medication errors
  • post partum haemorrhage following elective Caesarean section


At Colchester Hospital last year, there were 5 instances where patients were left with items inside them post-operation, 3 cases of wrong site surgery and 1 patient who was given the wrong implant. Total cases increased to 9, from 8 the previous year.

Patients Association says this is “unacceptable”


Never events have been damned by the Patients Association as “unacceptable” and highlighted the need for Trusts to make sure that they learn from such mistakes.


Patients have a right to safe treatment


“In the interests of transparency, it is, of course, positive that NHS Trusts are required to be open about serious incidents that happen in the course of administering medical treatment and nursing care and that the figures are publicly reported” said Alan Mendham, specialist medical negligence solicitor at Gadsby Wicks.


“However, “never events” are wholly preventable and, as such, Trusts have a duty of care to their patients and must ensure the correct procedures are always followed. Reporting is just part of the story; accountability is key to improving safety.”


At Gadsby Wicks, we have achieved successful outcomes for families who have suffered through medical negligence, including those who have experienced serious harm following a “never event”.  

See here for a selection of our case studies. 


If you – or someone you love – have concerns about your treatment at Colchester or Mid-Essex Hospitals, our expert lawyers can help. Please call us in confidence on 0800 321 3112 or email us here to make an enquiry.

Posted 6th May 2015 | Posted in News,Uncategorised