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Hospitals ignore allergies

10th September 2007

Studies show hospital patients may be put in danger because their allergic reactions to drugs are not identified by staff.

patienthistory1Hospital patients who have a "known allergy" are meant to be tagged with a red identification bracelet as a warning.

Studies performed by the University of Sunderland discovered that the tagging occurred in less than 50% of patients.

Muriel Simmons, chief executive of Allergy UK said the findings were "extremely worrying". She warned that there had been a rise in the number of people suffering from allergic reactions to medicine and stated: "it makes it more important that doctors are on the ball when it comes to the warning band."

She said their advice would be for patients to "insist on the red band" and warned that if a patient was not conscious then an allergic reaction to drugs could prove to be "fatal".

A study of nearly 400 patients from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead showed 75% of patients' drug allergies were not recorded in hospital notes.

Another survey of 100 patients from City Hospital Sunderland revealed 40% of patients who had a "known allergy" did not have it noted in the relevant hospital records.

The study found that pharmacists were more likely to record drug allergies than other hospital staff, including doctors.

Dr Rachel Etherington, the studies' leader, said: "It's important the doctor knows about the allergy and what type of allergic reaction the patient has had."

 

 





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