TWO investigations have been launched at Poole Hospital following serious surgical errors in May and July.

The incidents of “wrong-site” surgery have both been recorded as ‘never events’ – defined as “serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents” that should not occur if national guidance is properly implemented.

Since the beginning of April, three cases have been reported by Dorset health trusts, following 14 in 2017/18.

Poole Hospital saw four never events in 2017/18, while Royal Bournemouth Hospital saw eight. Dorset County Hospital and Dorset HealthCare saw one each.

In May this year a nerve block was given on the incorrect side of a patient by Poole Hospital staff prompting a review into what happened. And two months later, the third never event in four months was reported after an error during a facial operation carried out by Poole Hospital staff for a Dorset County Hospital patient. An investigation has been launched by the two trusts.

Dr Angus Wood, Poole Hospital NHS Trust medical director, said: “Patient safety is our utmost priority and we regret that these mistakes recently occurred. We can confirm that a thorough investigation has been launched into both incidents so that we can learn and improve our procedures. We do have robust reporting and investigation procedures in place to help ensure that incidents like these are not repeated.”

The trust also recorded four incidents in the 2016/17 year – all of which involved objects being left inside a person during surgery.

Each never event is investigated by specially-trained members of staff who produce action plans aimed at avoiding the same mistake reocurring.

According to figures published by Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, Poole Hospital has the lowest compliance with the World Health Organisation’s surgical checklist of the county’s health trusts, which is described as “an area of concern” in a board report.

While 100 per cent of surgeries at Dorset County and 98 per cent at Royal Bournemouth meet the guidelines, the figure was less than 90 per cent in Poole in June.