Report reveals blunders at Chichester hospital

St Richard's Hospital
St Richard's Hospital

THREE patients had items left inside their bodies after operations at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, it has been revealed.

An investigation into the number of incidents categorised by the Department of Health as ‘never events’ – incidents so serious, they should not ever happen – showed four events at the hospitals run by the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

Three of the events referred to ‘retained foreign object post-operation’, and the other to surgery on the wrong 
body part.

All four events took place at St Richard’s Hospital in the early part of 2012 – but there have not been any incidents since then.

“Keeping our patients safe is our first duty and so we take such matters extremely seriously – such mistakes are not acceptable.

“Each mistake has been thoroughly investigated, actions taken to ensure they are not repeated and I am pleased to say there have been no further events since August 2012,” said Cathy Stone, director of nursing and patient safety at the hospitals trust.

She confirmed steps had been taken to correct each incident as soon as the mishaps were realised.

“We acted quickly as soon as each of these errors became known, informing the patients immediately, acting to put right the mistake and offering the necessary support.

“Before 2012 there had been no ‘never events’ at any of our three hospitals since our trust was formed in April 2009 – that is a very strong record, although it is also the least that patients should expect, and that we aspire to deliver.”

Readers defended the staff at St Richard’s Hospital after the blunders were revealed, pointing out the great work the hospital does each day.

“I think when nursing teams are under as much pressure as they are it is very unfair to be highlighting the negatives,” said Deborah Wood on Facebook.

“Nurses are frequently coping on shifts with unsatisfactory staffing levels, working their days off, never getting adequate breaks on shift, often going far too long without food or drink. Five events in three major hospitals when you consider the amount of procedures they carry out isn’t worth reporting.”