AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after the wrong prosthetic limb was used on a patient during knee replacement surgery at a private hospital.

The incident took place at the Wellesley Hospital, in Eastern Avenue, Southend, and has been revealed at a meeting of the local clinical commissioning group (CCG).

It has been declared a “never event”, meaning it has been categorised as a serious error in care that put a patient at risk of harm, and it has been acknowledged it would not have happened if the hospital had been using full preventative procedures.

The hospital’s management said it was unable to comment on the specific incident, claiming patient confidentiality was at stake.

However, Roger Lye, director of the hospital, said: “Our top priority is always the welfare and safety of our patients.

“We take this responsibility very seriously and set extremely high standards across every aspect of our business.

“We act quickly if we suspect these standards have not been met.

“We are investigating a serious adverse event at the hospital, but due to patient confidentiality we’re unable to comment further.”

Board papers for the meeting of Southend’s CCG, said: “The committee is advised the serious incident reported at the previous meeting relating to incorrect prosthesis used during knee replacement surgery has now been declared as a never event.

This is being investigated.”

At its last inspection by the Care Quality Commission, the hospital was found to be meeting all standards of care adequately – apart from relating to staffing.

On staffing procedures, the inspector had moderate concerns about paperwork relating to consultants – including that there was no evidence 28 of them had up-to-date medical indemnity.

The facility is part of the national Spire chain of private hospitals. It offers a range of procedures including orthopaedic surgery, plastic surgery and its website boasts it is “a centre of excellence for breast cancer treatment”.