Acknowledging that there are differences in provision of out of hours access to specialist palliative care in the United Kingdom and the difficulties this might cause, in the opinion of the committee the perceived benefit of the anticipatory prescribing of a syringe pump does not outweigh the potential risks.
The risks include:
- A lack of individualisation of care
- No anticipation of dose/drug changes between prescribing & initiation
- Administration errors – leading to double dosing when oral medicines are not stopped and a pump is commenced.
The committee recommends that prescribing of a syringe pump should only occur after the patient has been reviewed in person by a doctor or independent prescriber. This will ensure a full assessment of the patient, including the reasons for any deterioration, and allow the safe prescribing of subsequent treatment.