How “Never Events” are Impacting NHS Budgets

Tune into any media station and you’ll probably hear all about the NHS budgets and the strain they are coming under. There are battles ongoing between hospitals and politicians and in short, few solutions appear to be in the pipeline.

Something that often doesn’t garner much discussion is medical negligence. We are all aware about it – it’s one of the reasons The Medical Negligence Experts and similar companies have made such a name for themselves. However, something that isn’t known is the sheer financial impact on the NHS. In a nutshell, it’s understood that it costs the organization £19 billion a year – which equates to around 20% of their total budget.

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

In truth, a whole dissertation could be penned about medical negligence and the impact it has from a business perspective. Let’s take the matter more granular though – and hone in on “never events”.

The name of this type of incident is potentially misleading, perhaps as it has such a huge impact on the NHS’ bottom line. However, the “never” element is there for a reason – and we’ll now talk more about the issue to highlight how it has become such a big problem in the British healthcare industry.

The lowdown on “never events”

In simple terms, a “never event” is a medical incident that should have never happened. It’s something which has no medical reason behind it and if we were to coin some common examples, it might include performing surgery on the wrong area, or even providing wrong implants.

They are very simple mistakes but naturally, they can have huge consequences. From a medical negligence perspective they can eat away at budgets as well, which is particularly annoying for the organization considering how they are problems which can easily be prevented in the first place.

How big is the problem?

We don’t need to say anything other than one number here; 1,100. That’s the number of patients who have been subjected to “never events” and suffice to say, when you consider how large some claims could be, that can total a significant bill for the NHS when it comes to negligence claims.

Female doctor viewing patient records on an iPad

How can the problem be eased?

To say that the problem can be immediately resolved would be unfair. After all, as we’ve already highlighted with the scope of the issue, it’s not something which has been ignored. It’s just something that’s unfortunately not been tackled appropriately and resulted in all of the above.

In a bid to therefore ease the issue, the NHS have updated their guidance which is outputted to employees. As well as this, there are now additional procedures to ensure that this guidance is being complied with.

Of course, a lot of trial and error will be needed to perfect this and ensure the number of “never events” starts to dwindle. The NHS do highlight that there are almost 5 million hospital admissions every year so mistakes might be made – yet in a bid to improve the perilous financial situation of the organization it would appear as though additional steps need to be taken.