Patient safety alert – Managing risks during the transition period to new ISO connectors for medical devices

A Patient Safety Alert has been issued by NHS England to raise awareness of the introduction of new medical device connectors. The connectors are being introduced to prevent the danger of connecting the wrong types of medical devices together.  All NHS providers who 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.

To reduce the risk of misconnections, the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) has developed a series of new International Standards for small bore connectors in a range of medical devices (ISO 80369). The first devices to be fitted with the new ISO connectors are those used for feeding patients via a tube and they will be phased into use throughout the NHS from September 2015.

This alert has been developed by the NHS England Small Bore Connector Clinical Advisory Group. Members of this group include senior and practicing clinicians, representatives from MHRA, NHS Supply Chain, British Standards Institution and industry groups.

Dr Mike Durkin, NHS England Director of Patient Safety, 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. The phased introduction begins in September and it is important that organisations begin their planning now so they can safely manage the changeover to the new ISO connectors.”

Read the full patient safety alert on ‘Managing risks during the transition period to new ISO connectors for medical devices’.