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Patient safety alert issued on the transition to new medical device connectors

A patient safety alert has been issued by NHS England to raise awareness of the introduction of new medical device connectors.

A patient safety alert to raise awareness about new enteral feeding tubes and connectors that are being introduced in the NHS from September 2015 has been issued by NHS England.

The alert has been published to manage any risks that may arise during the transition period to using new medical device connectors.

The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) has developed new international standards – called ISO 80369 – for small bore connectors for various medical devices. The changeover to the new ISO connectors is to prevent the wrong types of medical devices being connected together and to improve patient safety.

The first devices to be fitted with the new ISO connectors are those used for feeding patients via a tube, with a phased implementation that will begin this September.

Other devices affected by the ISO are: breathing systems and driving gases, limb cuff inflation devices, neuraxial devices and intravascular/hypodermic applications.

All NHS providers which use medical devices affected by the change are asked to ensure that staff are aware and that action plans are being developed to minimise risks during the transition to the new connectors.

This alert has been developed by the NHS England Small Bore Connector Clinical Advisory Group. Members include senior and practicing clinicians, representatives from Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, NHS Supply Chain, British Standards Institution and industry groups.

NHS England director of patient safety Mike Durkin said: ‘Enteral feeding is very common and there are lots of patients, in hospitals and also in the community, who receive their nutrition and medication via a tube. The introduction of the new designed enteral feeding device connectors will eventually make the care environment safer for patients.’

Read the NHS England patient safety alert here.

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