A BOTCHED surgical implant was discovered when a patient was using gym equipment, hospital chiefs heard.

They had been fitted with the wrong surgical plate. The implant was designed to help fix a fractured collar bone, but was incorrectly fitted to a broken bone in the patient’s forearm by surgeons at Great Western Hospital.

The bungle was only discovered when the patient was using a rubber resistance band to strengthen the arm and the faulty plate bent slightly, chief nurse Julie Marshman told GWH directors this week.

Managers at GWH have since discovered seven occasions over the past 12 years were the wrong plate had been fitted to fractured bones.

Most of the patients have experienced no problems. However, one was said to be playing football when they discovered their orthopaedic plate had bent.

The Advertiser has previously reported on the seven so-called never events, the NHS name given to incidents that simply should not happen if procedures and policies are correctly followed.

Medical director Dr Guy Rooney said last month that GWH had acted swiftly to prevent the plate mix-up happening again.

“We have changed the way we do things in these operations,” he added. “The two different plates used to come in the same kit and they’re very similar. But we have now taken the more malleable plates out of the kit so they can’t be selected by mistake. If an orthopaedic surgeon wants that plate they’ll have to ask specifically for it.”

Julie Marshman, chief nurse, said the relevant regulators and patient safety authorities had been told of the issue with the plates: “If there has been a report in any other organisation they can go back and check.”