Hospitals must standardise patients' wristbands to reduce risk of wrong care

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:118
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    Hospitals in England and Wales must standardise the design of patients' wristbands and the information recorded on them to reduce the risk of providing the wrong care, says new guidance from the National Patient Safety Agency.

    More than one in 10 reported cases of patients “being mismatched to their care” last year were related to wristbands, the agency warned. Such mismatches occurred in more than 2900 of the total 24 382 reports of patients receiving the wrong care from February 2006 to January 2007.

    “Standardising the design of patient wristbands, the information on them, and the processes used to produce and check them, will improve patient safety,” advises the agency.

    From July 2008 all NHS organisations in England and Wales that use wristbands will need to ensure that they meet the agency's design requirements. This means that wristbands should come …

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