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I was horrified to learn that faulty hospital suction equipment could have contributed to the deaths of seven people and that there was over 100 serious incidents involving suction equipment in the last five years. 

A problem with the suction equipment or the use of suction equipment was exposed as a result of the death of Mr Barnes. Mr Barnes was a 79 year old who tragically died in Plymouths Derriford Hospital.  A number of suction devices were used to try and clear Mr Barnes airway but they were either faulty or were not used correctly by staff and therefore they did not serve their purpose.

The Department for Health was asked to see if there was a wider problem with suction equipment failing or being used incorrectly. The Department for Health asked The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) to investigate and it came to light that there was 105 serious incidents with the suction equipment over the years from 2005 – 2009.

NPSA found problems such as suction equipment not being set up properly, not cleaned or batteries not being replaced. Moreover, NSPA’s found staff had not been trained properly in the use of the equipment and procedures for checking the equipment were poor.

I am shocked that such serious issues with the suction equipment or its use went unnoticed for such a long time and that these issues were allowed to effect so many people and their families and loved ones.  

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