SURGICAL equipment was left inside patients and the wrong body parts operated on in a series of blunders across hospitals in north Essex last year.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital, recorded a total of five “never events” from April to the end of November.

Two patients were given the wrong implant or prosthesis, one suffered “wrong site” surgery and one had a foreign object left in following surgery.

A further incident recorded medication was administered by the wrong route.

The errors are recorded as “never events” as the NHS says they should not occur as they could endanger a patient’s life. The incidents are recorded even if the action does not cause the patient’s life to be put in danger.

An trust spokesman said: “Patient safety is our top priority. Each never event is reported and investigated in a timely manner.

“This is not only to make sure the correct action can be taken, but also to enable the trust to learn from the incident to prevent it happening again and to reassure our patients and communities.”

In 2015, Colchester NHS Foundation Trust had the highest number of never events in England, with nine being recorded.

Last year, the trust recorded two never events.

Since then, the trust has joined with Ipswich Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to form East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust, looking after both Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals.

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust recorded three incidents where surgeons also operated on the wrong site.

Essex Partnership University Trust recorded one “never event” where it failed to install a collapsible shower or curtain rail, creating a suicide risk.