A HOSPITAL patient in North Wales had to be opened up again after surgery when it was found that a swab had been left inside him.

In a separate incident a patient was given medication orally when it should have been given intravenously, and vice-versa.

Now investigations are being carried out into both incidents, which occurred in March, and which have been described by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board as 'Never Events', meaning they should not occur.

The incidents are revealed in a report to this week’s meeting of the board by Dr Jill Newman, director of performance.

The episode concerning the swab was logged as “Retained foreign object post-operation” and the report says that when the swab count was carried out after surgery the correct policy was followed.

“A 9x9 swab had been left inside patient prior to skin closure. Skin reopened and swab removed immediately.

"Patient returned to ward and informed of incident. There was no harm to patient.”

Referring to the other case in which medications were administered in the wrong way, the report states: “Patient complained of stinging sensation. Error quickly rectified. "There was no harm to the patient.”

Never Events are fully investigated by the board with support from the Welsh Government’s delivery unit to ensure all necessary steps are taken and lessons learned are shared across the region.

All such events are reported directly to clinical executives as soon as possible and each investigation is chaired by a director, supported by senior investigation managers.