An independent inquiry has blamed a misunderstanding between Brighton Health Care trust and BUP A theatre nurses for an incident in which 19 patients were injected with a potentially blinding solution.

The patients were sent to BUP A s Gatwick Park Hospital for cataract operations as part of the trusts attempts to meet waiting-list targets last February. But patients were mistakenly injected with an external type of eye lubricant.

Two have since had corneal grafts, six have blurred but improving vision and 11 have made a complete recovery. One patient died of an unrelated cause.

The inquiry - headed by former South Downs Health trust chair John Wells-Thorpe - calls for improved measures to ensure high standards of care when accelerating workloads to meet deadlines.

A misunderstanding between the surgeon (who normally works at the trust), who had not previously worked with the BUP A theatre nurses, was found to be the prime cause of the error.

East Sussex, Brighton and Hove health authority said: All the healthcare organisations involved deeply regret what happened to these patients and we are sorry for the distress caused to them and their families.