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Pre-filling of insulin syringes

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Organisations must have a policy in place before n Organisations must have a policy in place before nurses pre-fill syringes for patients who are unable to use an insulin pen

The RCN has recently updated its guidance on pre-filling insulin syringes for patients to self-administer later.1 While this it is not best practice, it is necessary for a small group of individuals who cannot use an insulin pen and want to remain independent. The alternative is for people to wait for a community nurse to visit once or twice a day to administer their insulin. The guidance provides a framework for nurses and provides an example of a best practice policy to follow if their organisation needs to adopt this practice.

The guidance specifies that the RCN recognises and supports the practice for a small minority of patients who are unable to use an insulin pen, but that it should only be considered after all other options have been exhausted. This is because the practice is fraught with legal complexities.

Unless these are considered, and an operational clinical policy is recognised and ratified by the employing organisation, the nurse is at risk of contravening the Medicines Act (1968), breaking the law and putting their registration at risk.3


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