Fall from a window among serious incidents recorded at local hospitals in 2021

Ipswich Hospital/Colchester Hospital/West Suffolk Hospital. Picture: Archant

Ipswich Hospital/Colchester Hospital/West Suffolk Hospital. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Somebody falling from a window, objects being left inside a patient, and 'wrong site surgery' were among the serious incidents recorded by hospitals in Suffolk and Essex in 2021.

Figures obtained from a freedom of information request reveal there were nine "never events" reported to local NHS foundation trusts in 2021. 

"Never events" are defined by NHS England as serious incidents that are preventable if national guidance and safety recommendations are followed.

There were three "never events" reported to the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust in 2021. This trust runs West Suffolk Hospital.

At West Suffolk Hospital this year, there was one fall from a poorly restricted window and two incidents of patients retaining a foreign object post-procedure.

Window openings in NHS buildings should be restricted to 100mm or less. The one fall at West Suffolk Hospital occurred in July.

Retaining an object post-procedure means that during an operation something is accidentally left behind by those performing it. In March, a stent was retained - a stent is a metal or plastic tube inserted into the lumen of a blood vessel to keep it open. In August, a swab was retained - swabs can be either surgical or vaginal.

According to NHS data, there were three falls from poorly restricted windows and 33 incidents of swabs being retained post-procedure in England from April to October of this year.

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There were six "never events" reported to East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust in 2021. This trust runs Ipswich Hospital and Colchester Hospital.

In Ipswich and Colchester hospitals from April to October, there was one misplaced 'naso' or 'oro' gastric tubes and feed administered, one incident of a patient retaining a foreign object post-procedure and four wrong-site surgeries.

Naso and oro gastric tubes are small tubes placed either through the nose (naso) or the mouth (oro) and end with the tip in the stomach. They can be used for feeding, medication administration, or removal of contents from the stomach.

According to NHS data, there were 101 wrong-site surgeries and 21 misplaced naso and oro gastric tubes administered in England from April to October of this year.