NHS safety alert over use of liquified phenol 80%
A national safety alert has been issued to halt the use of a highly toxic and corrosive nail treatment after NHS patients suffered burns.
Posted on 03 September 2021
Liquified phenol 80% must be removed from NHS hospitals and clinics providing foot treatment services by 25 February 2022 at the latest.
Incidents in which patients were harmed by the substance included:
- A child needing emergency treatment for intestinal burns after the substance was used instead of paraldehyde as a rectal enema
- The mistaken use of the chemical instead of oil phenol 5% in the removal of a rectal polyp
- The substance being spilled on to a child’s leg during toenail treatment and having to be referred to a specialist burns unit for treatment
NHS bodies have been ordered to ensure they have stock of a safer alternative to liquified phenol 80%. They must ensure that it cannot be prescribed or purchased inadvertently.
Leigh Day partner and burns claims specialist Jill Paterson said:
“The safety alert over the use of liquified phenol 80% is welcome, but it is very concerning to read in the alert that 30 incidents of harm to patients were recorded over a five-year period before this action was taken.”
Partner in the product safety team with particular experience in fire appliance injury claims.
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