Sheffield doctors face equipment shortage

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HOSPITAL bosses in Sheffield have been buying up stocks of essential medical tubing used in vital life-support machines, after an earthquake in Italy created a global shortage.

International firm Baxter is rationing supplies of tubing used to run blood through life-support and dialysis machines, after an earthquake in May wiped out two of its factories.

Each tube lasts only 72 hours before it has to be replaced and no other company makes tubes that fit Baxter machines.

The Department of Health has launched a nationwide inventory of hospital stocks, with some hospitals reporting their supplies will last only a few days.

Others, including those in Sheffield, are relying on stocks they have managed to hoard.

Mike Richmond, medical director of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We have contingency plans in place for matters like this and we have ensured we have acquired more tubes than we would normally hold in stock to try to limit any impact on patient care.

“We are working closely with suppliers to monitor the situation.”