As reported previously on this site, Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Devon was warned by the Care Quality Commission in 2012 that it must improve its safety record or risk prosecution. This followed the occurrence of six “never” clinical events within 12 months, including four incidents of swabs being left inside patients following surgery. The hospital Trust said it had investigated the events and had put in safeguards to prevent such things happening in the future.
However, we now (February 2014) learn that three more “never” events (including one where a needle was left inside a patient) are being investigated at Derriford since last November. The response of the managing director, Dr Phil Hughes, was:-
“In healthcare a high incident reporting rate is often associated with a strong patient safety culture. This is exactly what we have developed at Plymouth Hospitals and it is important that we maintain that good, open reporting culture and learn from every incident to constantly improve patient safety. We put patient safety at the heart of everything we do.
We perform 80,000 operations each year, some of them extremely complex and high risk. We want to reassure patients waiting to come in to be treated that the risk to them of something untoward happening is very, very small indeed.
They can be reassured that we have a strong safety culture, because we learn from the rare occasions that things do go wrong.”
Patients in south Devon may be wondering just how many “never” events it takes to qualify as being “rare”.
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