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Safety belts can cause serious injury

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Incorrectly fitted safety belts on hoists, wheelchairs and stair lifts could cause fatal injury to patients, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned.

They have urged all nurses to ensure the safety belts are correctly fitted and adjusted, appropriately used and properly maintained after receiving reports of six deaths, several serious injuries and numerous near misses since March 2005.

The agency said that if the safety belts were not fitted correctly patients could fall from the seat or suffer ‘positional asphyxiation’ from slipping down in the seat.

Clive Bray, director of device technology and safety at the MHRA, said: ‘The incorrect fitting or use of a posture or safety belt can result in very serious injuries. People should follow our advice and also continue to report any safety related issues concerning medical devices to the MHRA.’

Nurses wishing to report an incident can call the MHRA adverse incident hotline on 0207 084 3080 or visit

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