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Patient safety breaches.

A hospital trust at the centre of a police investigation into data manipulation had the highest number of serious patient safety breaches in England last year.

Colchester Hospital University Trust had nine "never events" - errors so serious they should never happen - a rise from only one in 2013-14.

NHS England says that its provisional figures show that the trust had the highest number of "never events" in the country.

There were five cases of items being left inside patients, one "wrong implant" and three "wrong site" surgery cases.

Colchester Hospital also had 420 episodes described as "serious incidents" last year

The hospital says that the higher figures are because it is encouraging staff to report incidents.

The information has emerged while an Essex Police investigation is continuing into whether criminal offences were committed during alleged cancer data manipulation at the trust.

Chief executive of the Patients Association, Katherine Murphy, said: "Incidents of wrong site surgery' and 'retained foreign objects' are utterly unacceptable and pose a huge risk to patient safety.  A visit to hospital can be highly stressful at the best of times and at the very least, patients deserve to be treated in a safe, regulated environment."

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust said: "The National Patient Safety Agency advocates trusts must be open, report and learn from incidents and ranks organisations according to the numbers of incidents reported.

"High reporting of incidents is viewed positively because it shows an organisation encourages transparency and learning. The trust, therefore, proactively encourages all staff to be open and to report incidents and has a 'no blame' policy so learning can take place to prevent recurrence. “

Hospitals with the highest number of never events 2014-15

Hospital trusts

Number of never events


Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust


King's College Hospital NHS Trust


Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust


University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust


Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust


Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn NHS Trust


Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust


Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust



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