NHS Trust running the Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley Hospital pays out more than £144,000 this year for wrong site surgery

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The Trust which runs the Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley Hospital has paid out £144,309 this year as a result of wrong site surgery.

The figure, revealed as part of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Lancashire Post, comes as a study shows that wrong site surgery tops the list as the most common mistake made by NHS hospitals across the UK.

The Post’s FOI request revealed that there were fewer than five cases this year, but that between 2013/14 and 2022/23, the LTHFT paid out a total of £776,818 on eight successful claims against them for wrong site surgery. This includes damages and legal costs.

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During the same time frame, the Trust also paid out a total of £602,325 because of foreign bodies left in situ.

Surgery operation surgeons doctors nurses operating theatreSurgery operation surgeons doctors nurses operating theatre
Surgery operation surgeons doctors nurses operating theatre

Details on the wrong site surgeries and foreign bodies have not been provided for data protection reasons.

'Never Events'

Accident compensation experts at claims.co.uk have analysed NHS Never Events data from April 2015 to September 2023 and revealed that throughout the UK there were 1,584 cases of wrong site surgery during that eight year time frame.

Mistakes that have happened within this category include the fallopian tube being removed instead of the appendix, the wrong toe being removed, and an injection into the wrong eye.

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The second most common category of Never Events - serious incidents that are largely preventable and should never occur if the correct safety procedures are implemented and followed - is a retained foreign object post procedure, which refers to the retention of a foreign object in a patient after a surgical or invasive procedure.

This has occurred 852 times from 2015 to 2023, with objects that have been mistakenly left inside patients’ bodies after procedures consisting of cotton wool balls, surgical needles, gloves, and clamps.

Next, with 431 recorded incidents over eight years, is the wrong implant or prosthesis, where the incorrect implants and artificial body parts were given to patients that they were not intended for.

Mistakes within this category include the implantation of a cranial plate that was custom made for another patient, the wrong pacemaker being fitted, and insertion of the wrong stent or feeding tube.

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When does it happen?

The month in which the most Never Events occurred was October, with 364 incidents from 2015 to 2023; this is 43 per cent higher than February.

A spokesperson from claims.co.uk said: “While we are extremely fortunate as a nation to have access to the NHS, it’s certainly interesting to see which categories of Never Events are the most common, particularly when you consider that the wrong site surgery experienced over double the occurrences than the second most common Never Event.”


These are the number of Never Events recorded in the UK from 2015-23:

1 Wrong site surgery (1,584)

2 Retained foreign object post procedure (852)

3 Wrong implant/prosthesis (431)

4 Administration of medication by the wrong route (180)

5 Misplaced nasogastric or orogastric tube (159)

6 Unintentional connection of a patient requiring oxygen to an air flowmeter (147)

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7 Overdose of insulin due to abbreviations or incorrect device (73)

8 Transfusion or transplantation of ABO incompatible blood components or organs (51)

9 Overdose of methotrexate for non-cancer treatment (32)

10 Failure to install functional collapsible shower or curtain rails (20)