MORE than a dozen patients have suffered due to hospital trust blunders so serious they should never happen, new data shows.

Some 16 ‘never events’ occurred in East Lancashire hospitals between April 2013 and July 2019, according to NHS figures.

The figures show there were six occasions when doctors operated on the wrong body parts and five where they left swabs or items used during surgery inside patients.

One patient had an overdose of insulin due to an error, another was connected to an air flowmeter rather than oxygen, while another had medicine administered the wrong way.

A further person had a feeding tube misplaced in their respiratory tract .

‘Never events’ are the kind of mistakes that should never happen in the field of medical treatment.

Health campaigner Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, described the figures as distressing.

He said: “Never events by their very nature should never happen.

“I’m sure patients should take comfort in that they’re quite rare.

“But 16 is too many and a shocking figure as there are strict protocols doctors have to adhere too when they’re handling surgical instruments for instance.

“I can’t understand why these things are happening and lessons aren’t being learnt if they continue to do so.

“I’ll be bringing this matter up with the chief executive.”

Nationally, some 621 “never events” occurred in NHS hospitals between April 2018 and July this year - the equivalent of nine patients every week.

Dr Ian Stanley, acting medical director for East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, said the trust have numerous robust measures in place to ensure the safety of its patients at all times.

He said: “However, on the extremely rare occasion that a 'never' event does occur, it is fully investigated and important learning from this is shared with all staff to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Where necessary, our procedures and ways of working are amended.

“We have a programme of continuous learning and this includes the publication of ‘Share to Care’, a newsletter which focusses on different areas of practise to enable all staff to benefit from the experiences of colleagues. This reflects the culture in the trust to ensure that we are open and honest and seek to learn so that we can continually improve care we give.

“An example of this learning resulted in our theatre staff implementing the use of 10,000 feet which means anyone working in the operating theatre can say the phrase ’10,000 Feet’ at any time before, during or after surgery. This signals to other staff the need for a quiet environment to concentrate totally on the task at hand 

“However, it is important to put this into context and in the latest period of April to July 2019 when one never event took place, the trust safely completed over 122,000 interactions with patients.”