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National evaluation of safety peripheral intravenous catheters in a clinician-led project

24 January 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 2


Studies have demonstrated that up to 90% of all inpatients require the insertion of some form of an intravenous (IV) access device to facilitate therapy administration, which has also become as an essential aide in diagnostics and monitoring. These devices, particularly peripheral IV cannulas (PIVCs) are not without risks and complications. The NHS is trying to improve the safety and quality of health care by implementing evidence-based practices and one way to reduce the risks of PIVC-related complications is by to choose devices that are fit for purpose. However, there is scarcity of rigorous studies into the clinical acceptability and design of PIVCs. This article presents an excerpt of a national evaluation undertaken by an independent team of NHS senior clinicians from different fields, commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care into everyday healthcare consumables. The NHS Clinical Evaluation Team's work focused on quality, safety and value to promote efficiency and productivity in the NHS. The success of the team, which delivered more than 30 reports, has paved the way to embedding clinical engagement and collaboration within the NHS. Involving clinicians in procurement will both ensure and assure quality, safety and value for the NHS.

The Department of Health and Social Care commissioned the NHS Clinical Evaluation Team (CET) to provide clinical insight into everyday healthcare consumables, with a focus on quality, safety and value in reducing waste (Department of Health (DH), 2016). The CET brought together health professionals across a range of areas: clinical nurse specialists in tissue viability, vascular access and intravenous (IV) therapy, infection control, theatres and clinical procurement, as well as paramedics, physical therapists and podiatrists.

This programme—of which I was privileged to be part—was launched in April 2016. Its tenure ended in October 2018 after it had successfully published more than 30 invaluable reports. Its members delivered independent evaluations, providing high-quality, unbiased and trusted clinical product comparisons.

The CET reported directly to the Clinical Reference Board (CRB) under the leadership of Professor Mandie Sunderland, CRB Chair and Chief Nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. The CRB is a fundamental part of the NHS National Customer Board, which was instrumental in guiding the work of the project.

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