Two north London hospitals have seen a fall in the number of 'never events'.

These serious and preventable occurrences include operations being carried out in the wrong place or when foreign objects are left inside a patient after an operation.

Between April 1, 2023 and January 1, 2024, the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead recorded two such events while the Whittington Hospital, in Archway, recorded one.

NHS Never Event Data reveals 282 patients nationwide were affected by these incidents, of whom 139 suffered wrong site surgery.

In 2019 the Royal Free NHS Trust, which also runs Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital, had reported eight surgical 'never events', four of which occurred at the Royal Free site.

The Care Quality Commission carried out a snap inspection in May last year after a rise in the number of serious surgical safety incidents.

Lisa Jordan, partner and head of the medical negligence team at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Never events are classed as such because put simply, they just shouldn’t happen. However, sadly we continue to see the effects such incidents have on patients and their families. 
“Some of the incidents have life-changing consequences but they could have been avoided if the correct processes were followed.

"Instead, patients affected are now likely to need access to specialist support and therapies and we are helping many victims of Never Events to get back on track.  

 “The number of never events that the NHS is continuing to record is worrying.

"We know NHS resources are incredibly stretched, but every time a never event occurs, it’s vital that they’re thoroughly investigated, and that information is shared across the whole NHS so that they can eliminate such issues to protect patients from suffering unnecessary harm.”