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Safety in nutrition nursing—a need to protect patients and professionals

08 July 2021
4 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 13


Suzy Cole, National Nurses Nutrition Group Committee Member ( and Natalie Welsh, Vice Chair National Nurses Nutrition Group, outline recent work from several nutrition professional groups

We have been busy in the National Nurses Nutrition Group (NNNG) networking, supporting and showcasing many nasogastric (NG) tube initiatives, safety concerns and national recommendations. The administration of feeds or medicines via a misplaced NG tube remains a Never Event, and during the year April 2020 to March 2021 there were 34 events reported to NHS England/NHS Improvement (Table 1):

Source: NHS England/NHS Improvement, 2021

Despite a patient safety alert issued in 2016 with recommendations for all professionals to attend training and be competency assessed (NHS Improvement, 2016), mistakes are still occurring. New innovations are now appearing on the market to help minimise these risks. As a subgroup of BAPEN, the Nasogastric Special Interest Group (NGSIG) aims to provide a multiprofessional forum enabling discussion on best practice between those health professionals in the UK who provide NG therapy (for the purpose of feeding, fluids or medication) to adults and children. NGSIG is proposing to look at new techniques, considering the safety aspect, evidence/research and link this to the BAPEN position paper on nasogastric tube safety (NGSIG, 2020), and the recent report from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) (2020). New techniques that possibly will be critiqued are: NGPod, IRIS (Integrated Real-time Imaging System), Cortrak magnetic induction, lipase testing, the Avanos app for NG placement, pH readers, and combined pH and CO2 technique. Additional information will be available on the BAPEN and NNNG websites.

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