Patient Safety Alert – Ultrasound Gel

A reminder that actions for the national Patient Safety Alert regarding the use of ultrasound gel must now be complete.

The alert was raised when the UKHSA identified long-standing outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia linked to a non-sterile ultrasound gel product used in hospitals in the UK and Ireland.

Actions to be completed by 31/01/22 as listed below:

1. Review and amend policies, protocols, training and awareness-raising materials to ensure they are aligned to UKHSA guidance for safe use of ultrasound gel, including that:

a. Sterile ultrasound gel in single use containers is always used:
i. for invasive procedures
ii. if an invasive procedure is likely to be undertaken in the following 24 hours
iii. in labour where there is high likelihood of C-section or use of invasive instrumentation during delivery
iv. where there is contact with or near to non-intact skin
v. where the ultrasound examination is near to an indwelling invasive device
vi. where there is contact with mucous membranes (sterile gel to be used inside and outside of probe covers),
vii. for severely immunocompromised patients
viii. for all procedures in high dependency/intensive-care settings including neonatal intensive care units

b. For non-sterile ultrasound gel used outside of the indications above, ensure only pre-filled disposable (i.e. non-refillable) bottles or single use sachets are used

2. Cease using large containers of ultrasound gel intended for decanting:
a. dispose of any containers in use, as well as the bottles decanted into
b. remove any such bottles or containers from storage and clinical areas
c. amend purchasing systems so that these products cannot be purchased

Please click below image for full details