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Never Events List

Never Events List

In this article we explore the never event list for use in the NHS from 2013/14 onwards.

What are never events?

Never events are serious incidents that happen within a healthcare setting. They are defined by the NHS Commissioning Board as: 'serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented by healthcare providers'.

An incident is deemed to be a never event if:

  • The incident occurred in the past and is a known source of risk
  • The incident would have been prevented if national guidance/safety guidelines had been correctly followed
  • The incident can be identified, defined and measured on an ongoing basis

List of never events

There are currently 25 never events that have been identified by NHS England. These are divided into five different categories: surgical, medication events, mental health, general healthcare and maternity.


1. Wrong site surgery

2. Wrong implant/prosthesis

3. Retained foreign object post-procedure

Medication Events

4. Wrongly prepared high-risk injectable medication

5. Maladministration of a potassium-containing solution

6. Wrong route administration of chemotherapy

7. Wrong route administration of oral/enteral treatment

8. Intravenous administration of epidural medication

9. Maladministration of insulin

10. Overdose of midazolam during conscious sedation

11. Opioid overdose of an opioid-na´ve patient

12. Inappropriate administration of daily oral methotrexate

Mental Health

13. Suicide using non collapsible rails

14. Escape of a transferred prisoner

General Healthcare

15. Falls from unrestricted windows

16. Entrapment in bedrails

17. Transfusion of ABO-incompatible blood components

18. Transplantation of ABO incompatible organs as a result of error

19. Misplaced naso-gastric or oro-gastric tubes

20. Wrong gas administered

21. Failure to monitor and respond to oxygen saturation

22. Air embolism

23. Misidentification of patients

24. Severe scalding of patients


25. Maternal death due to post-partum haemorrhage after elective caesarean section

Have you been affected by a never event?

If you or your loved one has been affected by a never event, it is possible that you will be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.

As stated above, a never event should not happen if the safety guidelines are correctly followed. Therefore when a never event does arise, it suggests that the standard of care provided by medical practitioners fell below an acceptable level. If this causes a patient harm, which could otherwise have been avoided with appropriate care, there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.

For more information, please get in touch with us today.

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