Delays to intravenous feed leaving patients at risk

Aidan Fowler has warned that a shortage of intravenous feed supplies, potentially affecting hundreds of patients, has now been declared a national emergency incident.

The national patient safety director for NHS England and Improvement wrote to the country’s NHS trusts stating that the issue had been formally designated an emergency incident under the Civil Contingencies Act ‘at the highest level in view of the risk within NHSE/I’.

The NHS has been forced to try to source supplies from overseas to address the domestic shortage, with the situation affecting patients who are unable to digest food normally and are instead dependent on an intravenous feed.

The issue has been accelerated by an output reduction by parenteral nutrition producer Calea as a result of it being directed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to take immediate action to change its manufacturing process.

Chris Hopson, NHS Providers chief executive, said: “This is obviously a concern for all NHS trusts caring for patients dependent on IV feeds. We are aware that trusts have developed local solutions to the shortage such as hospital pharmacies making up feeds for patients on a case by case basis. However, this is clearly not a sustainable, long-term solution. We know that NHS England and NHS Improvement are doing all they can to solve the problem and ensure that patients do not unnecessarily suffer.”

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