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IRIC safety alert

National Patient Safety Alert - NatPSA/2021/003/NHSPS

Published on 16 June 2021

From: Health Facilities Scotland

NatPSA/2021/003/NHSPS- Eliminating the risk of inadvertent connection to medical air via a flowmeter.



Air flowmeters attached to piped medical air outlets are primarily used to drive the administration of nebulised medication; typically for short periods to manage respiratory conditions. Most other uses of piped medical air do not require an air flowmeter.

Due to the proximity of the piped medical air and oxygen outlets at the bedside, and the similarity in design of flowmeters, there is a significant risk when using air flowmeters that patients may be inadvertently connected to medical air instead of oxygen.