25th February 2011

BioWales 2011: Made in Wales drug delivery device set to save lives

Press Office, Welsh Assembly Government

Welsh Assembly Government

A revolutionary medical device – developed and designed in Wales – is set to save lives and prevent tragic accidents that occur when drugs are incorrectly administered in hospitals.


Hall Lock, developed by Professor Judith Hall, of Cardiff University, School of Medicine, in collaboration with South Wales based Flexicare Medical, is one of a number of made-in-Wales devices and products to be launched at the BioWales 2011 conference and exhibition next week (March 1&2).


Hall Lock is a simple but highly effective system to prevent drugs being accidentally administered via the wrong route, which can prove fatal.


Drugs are administered to the body by many different routes including intravenous, intra-arterial, epidural and gastric, with patients in operating theatres or intensive care units often receiving drugs by many of these routes at the same time.


Tragic accidents occur if, for example, a drug meant to be delivered intravenously is injected into the space around the spinal cord or an injection of air meant for a gastric tube is injected into an arterial or venous line.


Accidents occur because an identical standard connector is used for all of these drug delivery methods or routes and they are completely interchangeable. Hall Lock makes a misconnection impossible.


A separately shaped series of connectors has been developed for spinal, nasogastric, arterial and intravenous uses. The external shape and internal fitting of each system is different and not compatible with each other and none can interconnect. They are also colour coded.


Prof Hall explained: “One reason for drug errors in medicine is that humans make mistakes and wrong route administration is a recurrent cause of drug errors. This can be avoided by the use of connectors that simply make it impossible for drugs meant for one injection route to be given via another route.”


The Hall Lock system has been developed over the past two years with plans to introduce respiratory and urinary connectors into the range. Having been well received by clinicians during the pre-launch phase at various UK and international exhibitions that Flexicare has attended, it is anticipated that they will be made available in early March.


Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, who is speaking at the conference, said the Hall Lock system was one of several highly innovative products that would be launched and featured at the conference.


“We have a dynamic bioscience sector in Wales and BioWales provides the opportunity to promote the success of the sector in Wales and highlight the range of expertise there is in Wales.


I am delighted that a number of companies based in Wales are launching some exciting products and devices at BioWales, several of which are the result of collaborative work with the NHS and academia and have benefited from the close local networks we have in Wales.


“These products and devices have the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of people as well as delivering economic benefits to Wales.”


Professor Hall and Mr Hash Poormand, Business Development Director at Flexicare Medical, will give a presentation at the conference on Wednesday June 2.