Never Event Claims in UK Medical Practice: Understanding the Process


Medical practitioners and healthcare facilities in the United Kingdom have a duty to provide safe and effective care to their patients. Unfortunately, there are times when things go wrong, and patients are harmed as a result. In some cases, these incidents are deemed “never events,” which means that they should never have happened in the first place. When a never-event occurs, patients or their families may be eligible to file a never event claim. In this article, we will explore what never-events are, how they are defined, and what the process is for making a Never Event Claims in the UK.

What are Never Events?

Never events are serious, preventable incidents that should never occur in medical practice. These incidents are so serious that they can cause significant harm or even death to patients. Examples of never events include wrong-site surgery, retained foreign objects after surgery, medication errors, and serious falls. Never events are not simply medical accidents or errors. Instead, they are incidents that should have been prevented through the implementation of proper safety procedures and protocols.

How are Never Event Claims Defined in the UK?

In the UK, Never Event Claims are defined by the NHS England Never Events List. This list outlines a set of 15 serious incidents that should never occur in medical practice. If any of these incidents occur, they are never considered events, and an investigation must be conducted to determine the cause and prevent future occurrences. The 15 never events are:

  • Wrong site surgery
  • Retained foreign object post procedure
  • Wrong implant or prosthesis
  • Mis-selection of a strong potassium solution
  • Administration of medication by the wrong route
  • Overdose of insulin due to abbreviations or incorrect device
  • Inappropriate administration of daily oral methotrexate
  • Opioid overdose due to prescribing or dispensing error
  • Intravenous administration of epidural medicines
  • Maladministration of potassium-containing solutions
  • Transfusion of incompatible blood or components
  • Falls from poorly restricted windows
  • Enteral feeding tubes wrongly placed into the lungs
  • Suicides using non-collapsible rails
  • Escape of a transferred prisoner or detained patient.

How to Make a Never Event Claim:

Affection: If you or a loved one has been affected by a never-event, you may be eligible to make a Never Event Claims. The first step in making a claim is to contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor. They will be able to advise you on the merits of your Never Event Claims and guide you through the process.

Solicitor : The solicitor will then investigate the incident to determine whether it meets the criteria for a never event. They will also obtain your medical records and any other relevant documentation to support your claim. Once the investigation is complete, the solicitor will advise you on the strength of your Never Event Claims and the potential compensation you may be entitled to.

Pursue the claim: If the solicitor decides to pursue the claim, they will send a letter of Never Event Claims to the healthcare provider responsible for the never event. The letter of claim will set out the details of the incident, the harm caused to the patient, and the compensation being sought. The healthcare provider will then have four months to investigate the claim and provide a response.

Liability: If the healthcare provider accepts liability for the never event, they will make an offer of compensation. If the offer is accepted, the case can be settled out of court. If the healthcare provider disputes liability or the compensation being sought, the case may proceed to court. See more information click here.

Important to note

It is important to note that making a never event claim is not just about seeking compensation for the harm caused. It is also about holding healthcare providers accountable for their actions and working towards preventing future never events from occurring. By making a Never Event Claims, patients and their families can help raise awareness of the importance of patient safety and improve the quality of healthcare in the UK. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of patient safety in the UK. Never events have been identified as a key area for improvement, with healthcare providers being urged to take steps to prevent these incidents from occurring.

Ways of healthcare

One of the ways that healthcare providers are never addressing Never Event Claims is through the implementation of safety protocols and procedures. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a Surgical Safety Checklist, which is designed to reduce the risk of never events occurring during surgery. The checklist includes a series of steps that must be followed before, during, and after surgery, including verifying the correct patient, site, and procedure and confirming that all equipment and supplies are available and working properly.

Another way that healthcare providers are never addressing events is through increased training and education for medical staff. This includes training on the importance of patient safety, as well as training on specific safety protocols and procedures. By providing medical staff with the knowledge and skills they need to prevent never events, healthcare providers can help reduce the risk of these incidents occurring.


Despite these efforts, Never Event Claims continue to occur in the UK. According to the NHS, there were 496 never events reported in 2019/20, including 205 cases of wrong-site surgery and 110 cases of retained foreign objects post-procedure. One of the challenges in never addressing events is the complex nature of the medical practice. Medical procedures can be complex and involve multiple healthcare providers, making it difficult to identify and address potential risks. In addition, healthcare providers may be under pressure to provide care quickly and efficiently, which can lead to errors and oversights.

To address these challenges, healthcare providers need to take a proactive approach to patient safety. This means not only implementing safety protocols and procedures but also creating a culture of safety where patient safety is a top priority. This includes encouraging healthcare providers to speak up about potential safety concerns and providing them with the support they need to do so.


In conclusion, Never Event Claims are serious incidents that should never occur in medical practice. While healthcare providers are taking steps to address these incidents, there is still more work to be done to prevent them from occurring. By implementing safety protocols and procedures, increasing training and education for medical staff, and creating a culture of safety, healthcare providers can work towards improving patient safety and reducing the risk of never events in the UK. check this link right here now