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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Missing equipment puts newborns at risk

28th April 2010

Hospital errors and the lack of vital equipment are putting the lives of newborn babies at risk, according to the National Patient Safety Agency.

Premature Baby

The watchdog has identified hundreds of incidents where staff attempted to resuscitate newborns following problems at birth only to discover that the proper specialist equipment or drugs specifically for the process were not available.

The NPSA found there had been 622 incidents, 11 of which related to serious harm or death of the infant, and put some incidents down to a lack of proper training for staff.

Issuing an alert on the subject, the NPSA found that of 100 lower harm incidents analysed, two thirds were due to medical equipment and one third related to medicines.

Its report said: "Some resuscitation problems relate to clinical skills and training, but other important issues relate to the safety of the environment.

"For example, this can include equipment not being present, or mistakes in selecting and stocking the appropriate medication on the crash trolley."

The NPSA is in discussion with the Resuscitation Council, which provides training for staff, over the issue.

The Patients Association said avoidable mistakes that might lead to death or serious harm should never happen while the premature baby charity Bliss said the review highlighted the “importance of essential specialist training in resuscitation” for staff.

Dr Kevin Cleary, Medical Director at the NPSA, said: It is essential that basic resuscitation equipment is immediately available in this situation to ensure harm to babies is reduced as much as possible."


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