Identification of Common Themes from Never Events Data Published by NHS England
Background: Never events (NEs) are serious clinical incidents that cause potentially avoidable harm and impose a significant financial burden on healthcare systems. The purpose of this study was to identify common never events. Methods: We analysed the NHS England NE data from 2012 to 2020 to identify common never events category and themes. Results: We identified 51 common NE themes in 4 main categories out of a total of 3247 NE reported during this period. Wrong-site surgery was the most common category (n = 1307;40.25%) followed by retained foreign objects (n = 901;27.75%); wrong implant or prosthesis (n = 425;13.09%); and non-surgical/infrequent ones (n = 614; 18.9%). Wrong-side (laterality) and wrong tooth removal were the most common wrong-site NE accounting for 300 (22.95%) and 263 (20.12%) incidents, respectively. There were 197 (15%) wrong-site blocks, 125 (9.56%) wrong procedures, and 96 (7.3%) wrong skin lesions excised. Vaginal swabs were the most commonly retained items (276;30.63%) followed by surgical swabs (164;18.20%) and guidewires (152;16.87%). There were 67 (7.44%) incidents of retained parts of instruments and 48 (5.33%) retained instruments. Wrong intraocular lenses (165; 38.82%) were the most common wrong implants followed by wrong hip prostheses (n = 94; 22.11%) and wrong knees (n = 91; 21.41%). Non-surgical events accounted for 18.9% (n = 614) of the total incidents. Misplaced naso-or oro-gastric tubes (n = 178;29%) and wrong-route administration of medications were the most common events in this category (n = 111;18%), followed by unintentional connection of a patient requiring oxygen to an air flow-meter (n = 93; 15%). Conclusion: This paper identifies common NE categories and themes. Awareness of these might help reduce their incidence.