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Patients given ‘out-of-date’ medication

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

An investigation has been launched after it was discovered that the North East Ambulance Service Trust had administered out-of-date drugs to patients.  The trust referred itself to the Health Care Watchdog after it was found that paramedics had been accidently giving patients out-of-date medicines.  The error was highlighted in the trust’s routine audit, which found that 75 doses of morphine and diazepam had been given to patients, despite being passed their expiry date.  A total of 26 paramedics had been involved in the administration of the drugs.

The trust stressed that none of the patients were put at risk because of the error, but only that the drugs might have been less effective due to their age.  The trust immediately informed the Care Quality Commission and NHS regulator Monitor.

“thorough investigation”

A spokesman from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said that the trust now have the responsibility of carrying out a “thorough investigation” to find out how this error occurred.  The problem was highlighted in a routine audit by the trust, which found that Morphine, Oramorph oral suspension and Diazamuls were passed their expiry date when administered to patients.

A statement from the trust read: “Since the error came to light we have tightened-up our controlled medicines checking procedures.

Earlier this year, inspectors from the CQC raised concerns surrounding shortfalls in the management of medicines at the trust.  A spokesman said that follow-up inspections would be organised.

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