Measures To Reduce Hyponatraemia Risk In Children

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Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey has welcomed the publication of an independent review of measures in place in hospitals in Northern Ireland to reduce the risk of hyponatraemia in children.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) investigated the application in Northern Ireland of the National Patient Safety Agency’s (NPSA) recommendations to reduce the risk of hyponatraemia when administering intravenous fluids to children in hospital.

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The Review concluded that Health and Social Care Trusts and independent hospitals have undertaken considerable work to reduce the risk of hyponatraemia when administering intravenous fluids to children, and it highlights a number of good practice initiatives. It also makes 16 recommendations that should be implemented before full compliance with NPSA Safety Alert 22 is fully achieved.

Commenting on the publication of the Review, the Minister said: “The RQIA’s independent assessment of steps being taken in Northern Ireland hospitals to prevent hyponatraemia in children is extremely helpful. I am committed to ensuring safe, high-quality services for all patients here and reducing the risk of hyponatraemia in children is a key element of this.

“The finding that hospitals in Northern Ireland have already made significant progress is encouraging, but I note that further improvements can still be made, particularly in the reporting of incidents and the treatment of children on adult wards.

“I have written to Trusts and independent hospitals requiring them to implement all of the RQIA’s recommendations by April 2009. I have also asked the RQIA to repeat its review later in 2009, and I expect to see evidence of significant progress when this is complete.”

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