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​​​ Patients rightfully expect safe care, and health care providers work to provide care that results in better health and safe outcomes for patients. Unfortunately, events that harm patients do occur while care is being provided or as a result of that care. Many of these events that cause harm are preventable using current knowledge and practices.

"Never events" are patient safety incidents that result in serious patient harm or death, and are preventable using organizational checks and balances.

An Action Team from the National Patient Safety Consortium has sought consensus on the top priorities for Canadian never events in health care. The current focus is on events that can occur while a patient is admitted in a health care facility, where care providers have a high amount of control over care.  

The Never Events Action Team includes the following experts, and patient representatives:

  • Atlantic Health Quality and Patient Safety Collaborative
  • British Columbia Patient Safety and Quality Council
  • Canadian Patient Safety Institute
  • Health Quality Council of Alberta
  • Health Quality Ontario
  • Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety
  • New Brunswick Health Council
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Safety and Quality Committee
  • Patients for Patient Safety Canada (a patient led program of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute)

Our work aims to provide some areas and targets for continually improving patient safety.   We believe various strategies can be effective in identifying and reducing never events, including cultural changes, reporting and learning systems, identification of opportunities for improvement and continuous improvement supported by measurement and evaluation. 

The Incident Management Toolkit is an available tool from the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and designed to help healthcare organizations prevent patient safety incidents and minimize harm when incidents do occur.

Click here to access the final report on Never Events for Hospital Care in Canada.