Hartlepool patient almost had surgery on wrong body part

A hospital patient was almost given surgery on the wrong part of their body, it has been revealed.

The University Hospital of Hartlepool patient was not harmed and has been told about the error.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust must now "restore public confidence", Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher has said.

The trust, which refers to such cases as "never events", said it "does all it can to avoid incidents occurring".

NHS England describes these as "serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented by healthcare providers".

A trust spokeswoman said the incident related to a "minor procedure" but declined to give further details or disclose when it happened, citing "patient confidentiality".

She added it was the only "never event" to occur within the trust's hospitals in the past two years.

'Lessons are shared'

Mr Akers-Belcher, vice-chairman of Hartlepool Council's Audit and Governance Committee, said: "As soon as I was alerted I asked the trust to come forward to a formal meeting of the scrutiny function of the council so that we can question them about the incident and make sure safeguards are in place for the future.

"It's really scary that this nearly happened."

If the trust does not meet the council, the matter would be referred to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, Mr Akers-Belcher said.

David Emerton, medical director at the trust, said: "We have an open culture.

"All incidents are reported, investigated and lessons are shared and learned irrespective of their seriousness."

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