Reviewed by
Peter Rigby, Director of Medical Neglience

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NHS Never Events


Provisional NHS data suggests that, between April 2021 and February 2022, there were 379 serious incidents that appeared to meet the NHS definition of a Never Event. Never events occur when an error that was completely avoidable takes place. Whilst the NHS has a number of safety measures in place to stop these catastrophic events occurring, unfortunately they still do. 


Making an NHS Never Events claim


If you have been the victim of an NHS Never Event, our lawyers will work closely with you to collect the details of the incident, and work with medical professionals to build the best case. If you have been seriously and avoidably injured as a result of serious failings by those caring for you, we will pursue your claim for compensation and help you understand:


  • If you are able to claim compensation for an NHS Never Event
  • How much you may be entitled to if your claim is successful
  • The events surrounding your injury and how it happened
  • The support and rehabilitation services available to you 

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What is an NHS Never Event?


Never Events are serious, indefensible medical negligence incidents that should never occur. If all safety protocols are followed then, put simply, never events are events that should never have happened. The NHS itself uses the term ‘Never Events’ to refer to unacceptable situations where patients suffer harm, or even death, that could have been prevented. Medical staff are required to report these incidents to ensure that the NHS can continue to review safety procedures and work towards preventing any further incidents. 

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Types of NHS Never Events

We have acted for an extensive number of patients who have brought claims against the NHS. In the vast majority of cases patients have experienced one of the following events:


  • Wrong site surgery. For example: injections to the wrong body part; biopsies intended for another patient; removal of the wrong limb or organ. 


  • Retained foreign object following procedure. For example: failure to remove surgical equipment such as needles, guide wire, wire cutters from a patient’s body.


  • Wrong implant or prosthesis. For example: placing an implant in the wrong knee during knee surgery.


  • Administration of medication by the wrong route. For example: oral medication given intravenously (via vein). 


  • Incorrect administration of medication. For example: incorrect dosage of medicine.



  • Risk assessment failures. This can result in falls from poorly restricted windows or chest/neck entrapment in bed rails. 


When Never Events occur, they are recorded and submitted so that the extent of incidents can be reviewed. All patients are entitled to safe medical care. So whilst it can be daunting to speak up in these cases, it is vital to ensure that similar events do not happen again. 


How Do I know If I can Claim for an NHS Never Event?

We have represented many people who have experienced shocking incidents, so we understand the impact an avoidable accident can have on you and your family. The NHS has stringent guidelines in place to minimise the risk of these kinds of events. They publish an annual report to highlight areas of concern and to drive improvements. 

You will likely know almost straight away if you have suffered a never event as the consequences will be significant and the circumstances will be reported immediately by the healthcare team. In light of this, Never Events are usually indefensible and an NHS Trust will accept liability. The most recent NHS Never Event report shows that there were 28 serious incidents recorded that were not actually never events, and so we will still need to collect sufficient evidence to ensure we get the maximum amount of compensation for your claim.

Examples of cases we have taken on include:

  • An incision to the wrong side of the head
  • Carrying Out a procedure intended for another patient 
  • Retained scalpels or other surgical instruments
  • A transfusion using the wrong blood type
  • An incorrect dose of medication being prescribed leading to an overdose
  • Removal of organs such as ovaries or kidneys 

The consequences of NHS Never Events are varied, severe and sometimes life threatening. Which is why they are taken so seriously and why we work with you to get the recognition and support you need.


What Can I Expect?

Compensation for Never Events can be significant as the event itself was preventable and the impact can be life changing. Following a fall at hospital, our client was awarded over £300,000 after she was left unable to walk. Every Never Event will result in different consequences but compensation is most often awarded for any or all of the following:

  • A loss of mobility or a permanent disability
  • Loss of earnings or paid work
  • Changes to your home, car or living arrangements
  • The cost of ongoing care and rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Counselling and therapy


Why Choose Patient Claim Line?

Our specialist team of medical negligence lawyers have over 400 years’ combined experience dealing with NHS claims including never event incidents. We have helped thousands of people access the compensation they deserve and we are the highest rated medical negligence lawyers on TrustPilot. We are here for you, to help you move on and rebuild your life after a devastating never event.


No Win No Fee Claims

We never expect you to pay anything up front. All of our medical negligence cases including never events are taken on a No Win No Fee basis. Only once your claim is successful will we be reimbursed for our work. We investigate every case thoroughly to make sure you get the absolute maximum figure you are entitled to.

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Why Choose Patient Claim Line for your NHS Never Event Claim?

Not just lawyers — medical negligence experts

Patient Claim Line was established in 2014 and consists of a team of medical lawyers specialising in medical negligence and misdiagnosis claims.

At Patient Claim Line we have more than 100 solicitors with combined experience of over 400 years and they will work on your behalf to achieve the best result possible for you.

It's not enough to use a solicitor who sometimes covers medical negligence. You need someone who knows this area through and through. That is what the solicitors here at Patient Claim Line do. They deal exclusively in this area of law and are experts in the field.

Frequently asked questions about NHS Never Event Claims

Our expert legal team answer your questions about making an NHS Never Event Claim


Meet our medical negligence team

Peter Rigby

Peter Rigby
Director of Medical Negligence

Christian Beadell

Christian Beadell
Partner, Head of Strategy and Legal Operations

Francesca Paul

Francesca Paul
Associate Solicitor

Sion Wynne

Sion Wynne
Senior Solicitor

Case Study

Vincent's Story

"He's always there for us"

At the age of 2 we noticed our son Vincent had trouble with his hearing. We had this testing over a number of years and were repeatedly told there was nothing wrong.

Initially we thought this was a speech and language problem, this wasn't the case. It took 4 to 5 years of assessments, with the constant response that there was nothing wrong with his hearing. A different test was them carried on Vincent overnight where it was found he was profoundly deaf.

After years of frustration we were finally able to provide Vincent with the support he required and received an implant. This has enable Vincent to be able to hear. The support from our solicitors has enabled to to gain access to specialist which have supported Vincent in closing the gap in his speech he lost out on to his peers.

You don’t have to go through this alone – take the first step now