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Wrong tooth extractions removed from Never Event list

From 1 April 2021 wrong tooth extraction will no longer be considered a never event, NHS England-Improvement has confirmed.

This is an issue that we have been working on for a number of years and believe it should come as reassuring news for dentists, who will no longer be required to declare these incidents as never events. All other existing reporting remains in place.

Never events are a specifically defined serious patient safety incident that is wholly preventable due to strong systemic barriers resulting from the implementation of national guidance. Following BDA representation from all branches of practice and clinical academia, it is now accepted that the national guidance in relation to tooth extraction does not provide the strong systemic barriers necessary to meet the definition of a never event.

This removal from the list means that there are now no dental-specific never events in England, the BDA having previously secured the removal of wrong-site blocks.

As our Chair Eddie Crouch has stated: “It is very positive that NHS England-Improvement has accepted our view that that never events do not meet the definition of a never event. We hope that this will lead to a more proportionate treatment of patient safety incidents in dentistry and marks an important step away from a ‘blame culture’.”

Following this news, the Welsh Government has confirmed that the removal of wrong site tooth extraction as a never event will also apply to Wales.

There is more information on the revised never events list.