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St Mary's Hospital, Newport (Iow)

Volume 933: debated on Monday 13 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps are being taken to ensure that feeding bottles for babies in intensive care units can be clearly identified; and whether he will make a statement on the alleged mistake which occurred last Friday at St. Mary's Hospital, Newport, Isle of Wight.

The Medicines (Labelling) Regulations 1976 which were made last year under the Medicines Act set out standard requirements for labelling medicinal products, in order to ensure that they are correctly described and readily identifiable. These regulations are not legally binding in National Health Service hospitals because of Crown exemption, but area health authorities were invited in Health Notice HN(76)205 to introduce arrangements corresponding to the requirements of the regulations in so far as they are applicable.On Friday 20th May, five babies became ill at the Maternity Unit of St. Mary's Hospital. It is thought that the babies were given a mild antiseptic solution instead of sterile water in a bottle feed; the two bottles have a very similar appearance. Three of the babies are receiving care in the special care baby unit and they are continuing to make satisfactory progress. All the babies are under the constant supervision of a consultant paediatrician.Urgent investigations into the incident are being carried out by chief officers of the Isle of Wight Area Health Authority, and their report will be reviewed by a member of that authority on Tuesday 31st May. I have asked for a copy of this report and will write to the hon. Member when it is to hand.