Wrong-site blocks no longer regarded as “never events”

DENTISTS in England will no longer have to report giving a local anaesthetic at the wrong-site as a "never event", after lobbying by the BDA.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have agreed that wrong-site blocks will be regarded as patient-safety incidents but do not meet the threshold of a never-event, which are defined as wholly preventable and with the potential to cause serious harm or death.

The BDA believes the new policy is the correct approach and will put an end to some unnecessary and highly stressful investigations associated with never-events.

Chair of BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, Dave Cottam, said: "The original classification of a wrong-site block as a never-event was akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

"The stigma and fear surrounding a never-event is horrific for any dentist (as for any healthcare professional) to go through and was a completely disproportionate response to something that can occur even when a dentist follows the guidelines on wrong-site blocks to the letter.

"It’s gratifying that NHS England and NHS Improvement have agreed to a pragmatic and sensible change without compromising on patient safety."