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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Faulty hospital scales fears

12th February 2008

A national project will investigate if UK hospitals may be putting their patients in danger because they are using "faulty" scales.


Some preparatory inspections showed a four-year-old child was incorrectly weighed on faulty scales and could have received the wrong dose of radiation if the error had not been identified. The visits also showed that equipment was often mislaid or could not be found for the required purpose.

The National Medical Weighing Project is due to start in April 2007 and run for one year. Inspectors will perform checks to determine if scales are "accurate, legal and fit for purpose".

There will be a particular focus on equipment used in cancer and children's wards. Inspectors will also make certain that staff using the equipment have received proper training.

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, chairman of the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS), said that a patient entering a hospital may feel worried and they needed to be confident that they were receiving "the right dose of medicine".

He added that the new project was designed to give patients "peace of mind" and "help hospitals iron out any problems involving the accuracy of their weighing equipment."

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health stated that it was "extremely concerned" that accurate scales were used to determine drug dosages.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "It is for each local NHS trust to determine the equipment they require to provide safe services to their patients."

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