Background: Inter-hospital transfer of critically ill patients is potentially hazardous. If executed poorly, both patient and staff can come to harm. Guidelines have been published by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland, the Intensive Care Society and the Department of Health, each emphasising the importance of patient and staff safety.
Methods: A postal survey was conducted to evaluate the risk management strategies practised by NHS hospitals across the UK.
Results: 177/300 (59%) of college tutors returned the completed questionnaire. Only 29.3%, 13.5%, 19.2%, 1.6%, 25% and 29% of hospitals provide dedicated transfer trolley, protective clothing, fluorescent jacket, boots, mobile telephone and insurance cover, respectively.
Conclusions: The Health and Safety Act requires from all employers the absolute necessity to perform risk assessments and to provide a safe environment in the workplace including provision of all necessary protective attire and equipment. NHS hospitals are clearly falling short of these legal requirements and are also in breach of national guidelines governing the issue.
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