SURGEONS left behind more than 300 instruments and pieces of equipment in patients' bodies in Scottish hospitals over the past five years.
Since 2004, at least 280 patients had to be re-admitted to hospitals to have "foreign objects" extracted from them, figures released by the Scottish Government have revealed.
While health boards have refused to release details of individual cases, most incidents are understood to have involved small items such as needles and swabs.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde reported the largest number of cases, with 70 patients going back to hospital after objects were left inside them. NHS Lothian reported 28 cases over the same period, followed by Fife (25), Grampian and Ayrshire and Arran (both 21), Lanarkshire (19), Highland (13), and Forth Valley and Tayside (both 12).
The exact spread of the problem is not known because boards with fewer than five cases a year refuse to publish the data, citing patient confidentiality.