There was a total of 21 so-called “Never Events” – serious patienty safety incidents – involving privately-funded patients in Britain last year, an audit has found.
The findings, published by the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), show that 11 of the 21 events involved the placement of an implant or prosthesis different from that specified in the procedural plan.
Five were reported as “Wrong site surgery”, meaning patients were operated on an incorrect part of their body.
Other reported Never Events included “Administration of medication by the wrong route”, “Retained foreign object post procedure” and “Mis-selection of a strong potassium solution”.
Never Events events reported by private provider sites during the reporting period 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2019
The publication of the data follows a 2014 investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority which found there was a lack of information about quality, safety and price for patients considering private treatment in the UK.
It is the first time that a comprehensive dataset of Never Events involving privately-funded patients has been published in the UK covers 287 independent sector hospitals and NHS PPUs who between them account for an estimated 86% of privately-funded admitted patient care.
It is thought that the 14% gap in data is from NHS PPUs.
Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Chair of PHIN, said the publication of the figures is “an important step-change in transparency”.
He said: “This will be helpful for patients when deciding the right provider for their care, but it is also important that the information is available to hospitals, consultants and others within the sector.
“Never Events have to be reported so that lessons are learnt and actions taken to ensure they cannot happen again. This means that the reporting, investigation and learning is a powerful safety ‘call to action’ in itself and should always lead to an improvement in processes and quality of care as a result.
“We hope publication of this information will stimulate that process of continuous improvement.”
The full dataset and analysis is available here.