Patients at hospitals in the region were wrongly left with foreign bodies including a screw and a wire inside them after surgeries in shocking ‘never event’ medical incidents, figures have revealed.

NHS data reveals that between April 2023 and the end of the year there were 16 ‘never events’ at North East hospitals.

The NHS defines a ‘never event’ as ‘serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if healthcare providers have implemented existing national guidance or safety recommendations.’ Experts say they have the potential to cause serious injury or even death.

Nine of those occurred at hospitals in Newcastle, putting the number of blunders there among the highest of any NHS trust in the country - in joint second place and only behind Birmingham.

Trusts do not routinely release details of all ‘never events’ for risk of identifying patients, but a Freedom of Information request revealed surgery was carried out on the wrong part of four patients' bodies in Newcastle.

In two separate incidents, a patient was left with a screw inside them after surgery and another patient had a guidewire, a device inserted to guide an instrument into the body, left inside of them post-op.

Jason Brady, from medical negligence solicitors Blackwater Law who obtained details of the incidents, said: “It is concerning to see the details of these ‘never events.’

“It is important to remember that behind each one of these is an individual. They are the ones who must deal with the lasting impact of these incidents which the NHS themselves say should not be happening.

“At Blackwater Law we see the impact that these incidents have, not just on the person affected, but also on their families.”

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Three of the serious incidents happened at the South Tees NHS trust in the same time period, with one each at County Durham and Darlington, Gateshead, Northumbria and South Tyneside. Further details of those have not been released.

A spokesperson for the Newcastle Hospitals Trust said: “Patient safety is our most important priority. We take these incidents very seriously and are sorry that they have happened.

"We are working hard to encourage and support staff to report all incidents.  When we get things wrong, we carry out a full investigation to learn from mistakes, help us improve the quality and safety of clinical care and prevent the risk of recurrence in future.”