This resource has been designed for all Health Professionals who need to administer insulin for patients with diabetes.
Between November 2003 and November 2009, over 16,000 incidents involving insulin were reported to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), resulting in several deaths and serious harm. An alert was issued in 2010 recommending all Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) involved in prescribing/dispensing or giving insulin should complete the NHS Diabetes e-learning package on Safe Use of Insulin.
Participants need to register first using their ESR number.
GP practice staff and nursing homes can contact Gwen Oates at Virtual College to get their place of work registered E:firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2011, the NPSA published another alert, requiring that all adults aged 18 or over using insulin should be given a patient information booklet explaining that mistakes can be made in the prescribing, dispensing and giving of their insulin.
Patients should check they are being given the correct insulin, especially as some insulins have similar names but very different action profiles. They should also carry an insulin passport with them at all times, to show HCPs which insulin and device they are using.
The NPSA has produced a patient information booklet and insulin passport.
A shorter version of the booklet Developed in Leicester in collaboration with the NPSA, consultant nurses and specialists in diabetes is available and can be here - Safe Use of Insulin and You Patient Information Booklet (PDF 398.2KB).
Insulin safety cards are available for Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi insulins, which have been agreed by the NPSA as suitable alternatives to the passport. However, organisations should record on their risk registers if these are being used instead of the NPSA tools.