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Syringe Drivers at The Hospice of St Francis

26 June 2018
Syringe Driver

Following recent media reports concerning the findings of an independent panel into patient deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital and a subsequent Sunday Times investigation (24.6.18), citing Graseby syringe drivers as a major contributor to overdosing in NHS hospitals, The Hospice of St Francis seeks to reassure patients, families and the wider community regarding its use of syringe drivers.

Graseby syringe drivers were used, when appropriate, by the Hospice clinical team until 2013 to achieve good symptom control for patients. All clinical staff received, and continue to receive, rigorous training to ensure a comprehensive understanding of how to initiate and run the pumps, which release drugs into the bloodstream over an extended period.

Following advice from the NHS’s National Patient Safety Agency, The Hospice of St Francis replaced Graseby syringe drivers with McKinley syringe drivers in 2013. The drugs prescribed and administered via the McKinley pumps are selected on an individual patient basis in discussion with each patient by the Hospice’s multi-disciplinary team and the doses prescribed chosen to achieve good symptom control.

“The Hospice has rigorous procedures in place to ensure the safe and accurate delivery of medications via syringe driver at all times as well as clear policy and practice guidance that includes documentation regarding the reasons for the use of opiates and sedation if necessary, with clear transparency in its patient groups,” said Alison Woodhams, the Hospice’s Chair of Trustees.

If you are a patient or family member and you have any questions or concerns, please contact Fay Richardson, the Hospice’s Director of Care, via email at



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