Safety alert issued over medical air connection
A National Patient Safety Alert has been issued asking all providers that use piped medical air to eliminate the risk of inadvertently connecting patients to medical air via a flowmeter instead of oxygen.
Air flowmeters attached to piped medical air outlets are primarily used to drive the administration of nebulised medication; typically for short periods to manage respiratory conditions. Most other uses of piped medical air do not require an air flowmeter.
Due to the proximity of the piped medical air and oxygen outlets at the bedside, and the similarity in design of flowmeters, there is a significant risk when using air flowmeters that patients may be inadvertently connected to medical air instead of oxygen.
The National Patient Safety Alert – Eliminating the risk of inadvertent connection to medical air via a flowmeter asks providers to purchase alternative devices that do not require medical air to be delivered via an air flowmeter. Following this, all medical air flowmeters except those tethered to equipment for niche use should be discarded, and all medical air outlets no longer required should be reversibly capped off.
Failure to take the actions required under any National Patient Safety Alert may lead to CQC taking regulatory action.