Investigation after swabs left inside two women who gave birth at RUH

An independent investigation has been ordered after swabs were left inside two women who gave birth at the Great Western Hospitals-run maternity unit at the Royal United Hospital, Bath

An independent investigation has been ordered after swabs were left inside two women who gave birth at the Great Western Hospitals-run maternity unit at the Royal United Hospital, Bath

First published in Wiltshire
Last updated

An independent investigation has been ordered after swabs were left inside two women who gave birth at the Great Western Hospitals-run maternity unit in Bath.

Both incidents happened last month at the Princess Anne Wing of the Royal United Hospital, which is run by Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The incidents are medically known as  ‘never events’ - serious patient safety incidents that by definition should not happen.

These latest incidents bring the total number of maternity related 'never events' at GWH-run maternity units to four in 2013/14.

The others happened at the Princess Anne Wing at the RUH in April 2013 and the other was at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon, in August 2013.

GWH runs the maternity wing at the RUH along with community maternity services in hospitals including Chippenham and Trowbridge under a contract with Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

A statement from GWH said that the incidents involved gauze swabs which were unintentionally left inside the women following natural births.

The swabs were identified by the women themselves and were removed either the same or next day. The statement said no physical harm came to the women.

Hilary Walker, chief nurse at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are extremely disappointed and have apologised to the women concerned, who did not come to any physical harm as a result.

"It is completely unacceptable that similar mistakes have been made and we have commissioned an independent investigation to find out why these incidents happened and what needs to be done to prevent them happening again.

"We deliver over 9,000 babies each year across Swindon, Wiltshire and Bath and the vast majority of women receive a high quality of care and have a positive experience of our services.

“As an absolute priority we are reviewing safety systems and procedures and random spot checks are being carried out to ensure they are being followed meticulously. Regular safety briefings and training is also taking place.

“We know that openly and honestly recognising, discussing, and examining mistakes leads to improved patient safety. This is why we encourage staff to report any mistakes, we publish never events and share learning.

"We also have a Being Open Policy and a Duty of Candour to our patients, so when things go wrong, we tell patients and relatives what has happened, apologise and explain what action will be taken.”

NHS England is to host an intelligence sharing meeting between it, GWH and the commissioners of the maternity services to discuss the incidents.

Wiltshire CCG will lead a quality visit to the Princess Anne Wing on April 29.

GWH has run maternity services at the RUH and community maternity units since June 2011 but in January this year it lost out in the re-tendering of the maternity services contract for the RUH and community maternity units.

Wiltshire CCG awarded a three-year contract to the RUH which starts in June.

Ms Walker said: “Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust are working closely to ensure consistent safe practice during the transition, until Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust become responsible for the maternity service at the Royal United Hospital from June.”

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:44am Sat 22 Mar 14

trowbridge52 says...

yet another failure for patients
yet another failure for patients trowbridge52
  • Score: 3

7:49am Sat 22 Mar 14

Always Grumpy says...

Par for the course at RUH.
Par for the course at RUH. Always Grumpy
  • Score: 5

10:16am Sat 22 Mar 14

wilsikon says...

I have had Caesarean sections at Winchester, Salisbury and Bath hospitals and Bath was by far and away the very worst experience I have ever had. You are thrown through it as though you are on a conveyor belt and chucked out the other end to go home regardless of how well you are. I was unable to reach food or drink for the rest of the day after the op and none of the staff were willing to help, the following morning we were made to get up and shower in order to go home, despite nearly passing out twice I was still sent on my way. Stark contrast to Salisbury hospital where the care was second to none.
I have had Caesarean sections at Winchester, Salisbury and Bath hospitals and Bath was by far and away the very worst experience I have ever had. You are thrown through it as though you are on a conveyor belt and chucked out the other end to go home regardless of how well you are. I was unable to reach food or drink for the rest of the day after the op and none of the staff were willing to help, the following morning we were made to get up and shower in order to go home, despite nearly passing out twice I was still sent on my way. Stark contrast to Salisbury hospital where the care was second to none. wilsikon
  • Score: 6

9:20pm Sat 22 Mar 14

redrum says...

That's it, tell them when an inspection of quality will take place so all can be up together.
That's it, tell them when an inspection of quality will take place so all can be up together. redrum
  • Score: 3

1:56am Sun 23 Mar 14

trowbridge52 says...

surely its about time that something wsas done i found the medical wards were better than the surgical ones its a shame when so much money is pi]ut into the hospital why such failures happen makes you think about going there for treatment i went in for an op on a abcess a couple of years back and ended up contracting c,diff then went in with swine flu and bronchitis and the care was excellent !!!!
surely its about time that something wsas done i found the medical wards were better than the surgical ones its a shame when so much money is pi]ut into the hospital why such failures happen makes you think about going there for treatment i went in for an op on a abcess a couple of years back and ended up contracting c,diff then went in with swine flu and bronchitis and the care was excellent !!!! trowbridge52
  • Score: 1

9:39am Sun 23 Mar 14

politepanda says...

Nothing changes.
Nothing changes. politepanda
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree