CALL 0800 437 0322 FREE 24 hours a day
Submit enquiry

Never events

Never Events are defined by the NHS as “serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented.

The current list of NHS Never Events is as follows:

The NHS Never Events reporting programme is overseen by a body called NHS Improvement. This development and dedication to patient safety is very much welcomed.

However, the UK does appear to be restricting the list when one considers the Never Events list issued in the USA by the National Quality Forum (NQF).

The NQF is not a government body in the same way that the NHS is in the UK. However, it does represent a large number of Private healthcare providers, government health agencies, medical device companies, and other quality improvement organisations.

The American list of Never Events contains 28 events which are as follows:

  1. Artificial insemination with the wrong donor sperm or donor egg
  2. Unintended retention of a foreign body in a patient after surgery or other procedure
  3. Patient death or serious disability associated with patient elopement (disappearance)
  4. Patient death or serious disability associated with a medication error (e.g., errors involving the wrong drug, wrong dose, wrong patient, wrong time, wrong rate, wrong preparation or wrong route of administration)
  5. Patient death or serious disability associated with a hemolytic reaction due to the administration of ABO/HLA-incompatible blood or blood products
  6. Patient death or serious disability associated with an electric shock or elective cardioversion while being cared for in a healthcare facility
  7. Patient death or serious disability associated with a fall while being cared for in a healthcare facility
  8. Surgery performed on the wrong body part
  9. Surgery performed on the wrong patient
  10. Wrong surgical procedure performed on a patient
  11. Intraoperative or immediately post-operative death in an ASA Class I patient
  12. Patient death or serious disability associated with the use of contaminated drugs, devices, or biologics provided by the healthcare facility
  13. Patient death or serious disability associated with the use or function of a device in patient care, in which the device is used or functions other than as intended
  14. Patient death or serious disability associated with intravascular air embolism that occurs while being cared for in a healthcare facility
  15. Infant discharged to the wrong person
  16. Patient suicide, or attempted suicide resulting in serious disability, while being cared for in a healthcare facility
  17. Maternal death or serious disability associated with labour or delivery in a low-risk pregnancy while being cared for in a health care facility
  18. Patient death or serious disability associated with hypoglycemia, the onset of which occurs while the patient is being cared for in a healthcare facility
  19. Death or serious disability (kernicterus) associated with failure to identify and treat hyperbilirubinemia in neonates
  20. Stage 3 or 4 pressure ulcers acquired after admission to a healthcare facility
  21. Patient death or serious disability due to spinal manipulative therapy
  22. Any incident in which a line designated for oxygen or other gas to be delivered to a patient contains the wrong gas or is contaminated by toxic substances
  23. Patient death or serious disability associated with a burn incurred from any source while being cared for in a healthcare facility
  24. Patient death or serious disability associated with the use of restraints or bedrails while being cared for in a healthcare facility
  25. Any instance of care ordered by or provided by someone impersonating a physician, nurse, pharmacist, or other licensed healthcare provider
  26. Abduction of a patient of any age
  27. Sexual assault on a patient within or on the grounds of the healthcare facility
  28. Death or significant injury of a patient or staff member resulting from a physical assault (i.e., battery) that occurs within or on the grounds of the healthcare facility

The NHS has now begun to publish Never Event data online. The most recent report can be found here.

380 incidents of Never Events were reported in 2016/2017, which is a decrease from 442 incidents in 2015/2016. However, the issue is not the number of incidents but making sure all incidents are reported. This number may increase each year as hospitals become more comfortable with reporting safety issues.

Hodge Jones Allen welcome transparency in the NHS and hope that hospitals can adopt a no blame culture where reporting of Never Events is actively encouraged in order to use these incidents to educate staff and reduce avoidable harm.

It would be hoped that as the system develops, the NHS list of Never Events can perhaps be expanded to match the standards of the American reporting system. This is likely to improve safety for patients and also increase the skills and knowledge of dedicated NHS staff.

Our Medical Negligence Solicitors are backed by four decades of experience. Our legal practice and team of London Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving favourable client outcomes. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0800 437 0322 today.

Request a FREE consultation

Fill out this form and one of the team will get back to you:


By ticking the following box I am giving Hodge Jones and Allen consent to process my personal data for the purpose of this enquiry.

Full details of our privacy policy is available here

Call us on:

Our offices are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.

Phone:0800 437 0322
Fax:020 7388 2106
Address:Hodge Jones & Allen LLP
180 North Gower Street
London
NW1 2NB