COLCHESTER’S hospital trust recorded the worst number of never events in England in the past year.

Colchester Hospital University Trust, which runs Essex County and Colchester General hospitals, had nine of the incidents, which are so called because they should never happen.

The never events were: ! Five cases of items being left inside patients ! One wrong implan"

! Three"wrong site surgery cases where doctors operated on the wrong part of a patient’s body.

In none of the never events did any patient come to serious harm.

The figures were released in a report by NHS England.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “Incidents of wrong site surgery and retained foreign objects are utterly unacceptable and pose a huge risk to patient safety.

“Whilst the Patient Association accepts accidents will sometimes occur, it is vital lessons are learnt each time to ensure that they are not repeated.”

Mid Essex Hospital Services came third worst, posting seven never events for the same time period.

The figure for Colchester hospitals was up from just one never event in 2013/14.

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust said: “We care for hundreds of thousands of patients every year and we usually get it right, which is why there has always been so much goodwill for us in the community and why in 2014/15 we received 23 plaudits for every complaint.

“However, health care can be complex and we do sometimes make mistakes.

“In those circumstances, it’s essential we’re open and honest about them, carry out a full investigation and, importantly, use them as learning opportunities that will help us to improve our services and make them safer “The Trust, therefore, proactively encourages all staff to be open and to report incidents which we take enormously seriously, and has a ‘no blame’ policy so that learning can take place to prevent recurrence.”

He added all incidents are reported to external agencies.

Jason Brady, clinical negligence lawyer at Blackwater Law solicitors in Essex, said: “It is clear that along with the Care Quality Commission placing Colchester Hospital into special measures and rating the hospital inadequate in a number of areas, these figures showing Colchester Hospital to have the highest incidence of never events of anyNHS trust in the country suggest there needs to be some consideration of changes to hospital services.

“The occurrence of a never event can cause significant pain and suffering for the patient and even risk their long-term health and well-being.”