The Queensland Premier says he’s “comforted” by the early detection of a glitch in a medication software that had the potential to kill patients.
A medication software problem in Queensland’s public hospitals had the potential to kill patients, but the premier finds it reassuring the issue was detected early.
The program, Metavision Intensive Care, is used to regulate doses of medication given to patients.
The heads of the intensive care units at the Princess Alexandra, Royal Children’s and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospitals identified concerns with the software over the past month.
The fears of a fatality were outlined in a report produced for the state government, warning of a 60 to 90 per cent chance of a patient dying in the next month if the problem was not fixed.
Since it had been implemented, there had been “potentially serious prescription errors specifically caused by the system”, the report said, quoted by Fairfax.
While there had been no harm to patients, the report said the errors were considered “near misses with a high potential to recur”.
It should always be cause for concern when a problem was identified, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said.
“But I don’t believe there’s any real risk to any potential Queensland patient out there because it has been identified,” he told ABC radio on Monday.
Mr Springborg said he was not aware of any fatalities linked to the program.
The Labor opposition wants an independent assessment of the situation from outside Queensland Health, saying it’s clear that drugs have been mixed up and that medications have continued to be administered when they should have stopped.
“It is clear that there are bugs in this system that could result in catastrophic results for the patient,” opposition health spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller said.
Premier Campbell Newman said the software was being used in about 100 hospitals around the world.
He took comfort from the fact the issue was detected by clinical staff in the department.
“They’ve moved quickly to report this issue, to make sure that patients were protected, and to ensure that there will be a fix to this system,” he said.
“That should reassure people that they haven’t been put at risk.”
Mr Newman denied the incident showed the program should have been more thoroughly tested before it was put in place.
“I think it was fair to assume that it had been through all the rigour because it had been used for some time.”