THE NHS operates on the wrong part of someone’s body four times a day, Jeremy Hunt has revealed.
Speaking in the Commons, the former health secretary labelled the incidents “never events” – things that should never happen.
His comments came as MPs discussed health and social care during day five of the Queen’s Speech debate.
He said: “Even now, after all the progress on patient safety, four times a day we operate on the wrong part of someone’s body. It’s called wrong site surgery.
“When I was health secretary we amputated the wrong toe off someone, another lady had her ovary removed instead of her appendix.”
Mr Hunt admitted despite checklists mistakes are still made as sometimes “people read through lists and they automatically give the answer they think people want to hear”.
He added: “The solution is to ask ourselves very honestly whether when a mistake happens, when there’s a tragedy, we really learn from that mistake or whether we brush it under the carpet.
“To understand how difficult an issue this is, you have to put yourself in the shoes of a doctor or a nurse when something happens like a baby dying.
“They want to do nothing more than to be completely open and transparent about what happened, to learn the lessons and so on.”
He warned “we make it practically impossible” for people to learn from mistakes, and staff over over Britain were worried about getting sacked.
Mr Hunt explained: “People are terrified about being struck off by the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) or the GMC (General Medical Council), they’re worried about their CQC (Care Quality Commission) rating, they’re worried about their professional reputation, they’re worried about being fired.”
One incident included a pensionerwent to hospital for a routine operation – and ended up circumcised in an NHS blunder.
Terry Brazier, 70, was then handed 20,000 compensation after Leicester Royal Infirmary mixed up his notes.
Other incidents have included the wrong eye having laser surgery, the wrong tooth being removed nine times and a contraceptive implant inserted in the wrong arm.
In 2018, the never events reached a massive nine-a-week.