Blunder Risks Hospital Drugs

Article excerpt

Byline: By Amanda Crook

A fridge breakdown has put pounds 1m of vital drugs at risk at a top North hospital, The Journal can reveal today.

Newcastle Hospital Trust bosses have launched a top-level inquiry to find out how the blunder happened at the Royal Victoria Infirmary earlier this week.

They have also suspended a member of staff until the inquiry team reports its findings.

Staff are currently examining the specialist blood products - which should have lasted for nearly two months - to check the extent of the damage.

Hospital management say they can guarantee the incident will not affect patient care.

Hospital chiefs yesterday issued a brief statement

on the situation to The Journal. A spokeswoman said: "A breakdown in the temperature control mechanisms of a cold store in the Royal Victoria Infirmary accommodating specialist blood products has put at risk stock held and valued in the region of pounds 1m.

"Overall consumption of these products is expected to reach pounds 7m per annum and the stock in question is being tested to ascertain whether or not it has been adversely affected.

"A Board level inquiry is underway to fully ascertain the circumstances that led to this failure and a member of staff has been suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry."

Trust bosses are not revealing what the drugs were used for, which department they were stored in or how the mistake was discovered.

In its Code of Ethics and Standards, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society guidelines say: "Refrigerators used for pharmaceutical stock must be capable of storing products between 2C and 8C. …