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Safer medical devices/equipment

The term medical device includes all products, except medicines, used in healthcare for the diagnosis, prevention, monitoring or treatment of illness or disability.


The range of products is very wide: it includes dressings, tubing, syringes, infusion pumps, heart valves, surgical instruments, resuscitators, radiotherapy machines, wheelchairs, walking frames or other assistive technology products.


Incident reports about defective medical devices should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).


Patient safety incidents concerning the use of medical devices should be reported to the National Reporting and Learning Service.


The NRLS has developed a range of resources to help healthcare organisations reduce the risks when using medical devices or equipment. Resources include:

  • Actions to reduce the risk of harm, such as during use of nasogastric tubes, chest drains, suprapubic or urinary catheters

  • Actions to reduce the risk of infection, such as ventilator-associated pneumonia or central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infections (the Matching Michigan initiative)

  • The Safer Connectors project, which aims to introduce safer connectors for spinal and epidural (neuraxial) medical devices


Search or view resources relating to safer medical devices below.



TitleIssue dateType
Improving infusion device safety20 May 2004Alert