267 patients have items left inside them after surgery in six-year period
Figures released by the HSE have highlighted the number of items that have gone missing or been left inside patients during surgery.
The information - obtained by Irish Examiner reporter Fiachra Ó Cionnaith - reveals that surgeons sew up patients with items still inside them on average nearly once a week, or every 9.5 days.
The findings involve 267 patients from 2005 to 2011.
Officials say this is a small number in comparison to the number of surgeries carried out, accounting for just 0.005% of all surgeries over the period.
It is not clear whether all affected patients are told when something has gone wrong.