Equipment left inside op patients

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HOSPITAL chiefs say they carry out stringent checks after it was revealed that three patients had surgery equipment left inside them during an operation.

The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust figures indicate it could have been a needle, pin or a swab that was left after the surgery, but bosses say the errors account for a minute fraction of the operations that are carried out.

Figures have also revealed that there were single incidents involving a wrong implant/prosthesis, misplaced naso-or oro-gastric tubes and one of wrong surgery site in the last three years.

Bosses said the three incidents acounted for only 0.01 per cent, which is one in 10,000 of all the operations performed by the trust.

Director of nursing, patient safety and quality Sue Smith said: “We have an open culture of reporting and all staff, regardless of grade, are encouraged to report their concerns in the interest of patient safety.

“All incidents are investigated and lessons are shared and learned. We are also open with the patient about incidents including never events, regardless of whether or not they caused harm to the patient.”

It comes as national figures have shown hundreds of hospital patients have suffered basic, preventable mistakes that should “never” happen in the NHS during the last four years including having surgical instruments left inside them and operations being carried out on the wrong body part.

In the last four years more than 750 patients at hospitals in England suffered “never events” - which are serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents.

The data found that there were 322 cases of “foreign objects” such as surgical instruments or swabs inside patients’ bodies, 214 had surgery on the wrong body part, 73 patients had feeding tubes inserted into their lungs, and 58 patients were fitted with the wrong implant, among other incidents.