Around £17m has been spent by the NHS in just six years dealing with cases where patients have had the wrong part of their body operated on, it has been claimed.
A report from HuffPost UK suggests that between 2012/13 and 2017/18, 202 patients claimed compensation from the health service following “wrong site surgery”.
That is described by the NHS as an invasive procedure on the wrong body part. The term also includes cases where an operation was carried out on the wrong person altogether.
According to HuffPost UK, of the £16.98m spent by the NHS, £11.3m was paid out to patients in damages. The rest was spent on defence costs and covering claimant costs.
HuffPost UK reports that the number of patients who fall victim to wrong site surgery each year is much higher than those who seek compensation. Between April 2017 and January 2018 alone, 175 of these cases were recorded by the health service.
An NHS Improvement spokesperson said: “The NHS performs over 12 million surgical procedures a year and while incidents like these are thankfully extremely rare, it is vital that when they do happen hospitals investigate, learn and act to minimise risks.”