Clinical negligence is costing the NHS over £2m per year and will increase by 25% per year over the next 5 years ( Bourn 1997). The risks associated with the use of high tech devices, in the presence of poor training, are great. The medical devices agency received over 4,000 adverse incident reports in the year 1995-96, this figure has increased every year for the past 5 years ( MDA DB 9701, 1997).

Lack of training is identified as a significant cause of infusion device related adverse incidents. Training in many areas is either little or non existent and tends to be experiential and not competency based. The need to develop appropriate training strategies is needed if the 'bleeding vein' of clinical negligence payments is to be arrested.

This author believes that training should be facilitated, structured, coordinated and competency based otherwise it runs the risk of fragmentation and becoming ineffective. The appointment of a Medical Devices Officer is a cost effective way of addressing the issues highlighted in this paper as well as implementing local and national issues and should be explored in other similarly sized Trusts.



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