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Nurses encouraged to train on safer use of insulin


The health service’s diabetes unit has called on trusts to ensure their staff have been trained in the safe use of insulin, following a warning from the National Patient Safety Agency.

The NPSA issued a rapid response report in June which recommended all health professionals involved in the care of people with diabetes to undertake training on the safer use of insulin.

The NPSA set a deadline of 16 December – now passed – for trusts to have training in place.

NHS Diabetes said 21,000 nurses and doctors had so far registered for its online training course on the safer use of insulin, with 13,000 completing it.

Staff from over 300 NHS hospital trusts and primary care trusts have signed-up. About half of the registrations are from secondary care, with the remainder from primary and community care.

The NHS Diabetes said: “Whilst the numbers registering for the course so far have been impressive – those healthcare professionals who have not yet completed the course are being encouraged to do so.”

NHS Diabetes director Anna Morton said: “Getting the administration of insulin wrong can be fatal so making sure those delivering it are fully-skilled is vitally important. I am very pleased that so far over 20,000 people have registered for our course in just six months, but much more needs to be done.

“Trusts who have not put insulin training in place are potentially leaving themselves open to challenge should a serious incident happen now the deadline set by the NPSA has passed.”

June James, a nurse consultant in diabetes at University Hospitals of Leicester, who helped to develop the clinical content of the course, said: “The course is mandatory for all medical students and is in the process of being rolled out to all junior doctors.

“We have customised it for nurses by adding videos of injecting techniques. It will be available to all nurses in the New Year.”




Readers' comments (2)

  • My daughter's a type 1 diabetic and I'm a nurse. It makes me really angry how many nurses/doctors do not really understand diabetes and it's complications. Comments like "give them some chocolate" if they're having a hypo (regardless of how low the patient is), to giving patients lots of fruit for pudding/giving the insulin after the episode and consequently giving them too much insulin afterwards - the result, surprise, surprise; another more serious hypo! More education please for health care workers at all levels.

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  • standardised and statutory training should be provided for all registered nurses and doctors as well as students training in these professions and should be free of charge and a practical and theoretical test should be certified. It is no use just providing a variety of courses of varying standards in different areas at variable costs and it is no use just providing to some individuals who may be involved in the care of diabetetics as no professional knows when they may come into contact with people with this very common disorder and every registered healthcare professional should be able to provide emergency and safe care.

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