New safety measures on ultrasound gel

New safety measures on the safe use of ultrasound gel will come into force on 31 January 2022.

Physio using ultrasound to treat patient's back

Last month the National Patient Safety Alerting Committee issued a National Patient Safety Alert (PSA) about the safe use of ultrasound gel within healthcare settings. This followed the UK Health Security Agency identifying a long-standing outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia linked to a non-sterile ultrasound gel product that is in use across the UK and Ireland.

Members who use ultrasound gel should ensure that they read the PSA and implement the following new safety measures by the time they come into force on 31 January 2022.

  • Large containers of ultrasound gel intended for decanting should no longer be used in clinical practice. Only non-refillable bottles or sachets should be used.
  • Ultrasound gel should be disposed of one month after opening.
  • The whole bottle of ultrasound gel, including the tip, should be cleaned with a disinfectant wipe between uses.
  • The tip/nozzle of the ultrasound gel bottle must not come into contact with anything. If it does, clean immediately with a disinfectant wipe.

Invasive procedures require that you use a single-use container of sterile gel.
Separate measures are in place for sterile and non-sterile ultrasound gel. 

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