The latest Gosport War Memorial Hospital inquiry has increased patient, public, and clinician awareness in the UK about syringe drivers for continuous subcutaneous delivery of opioids and other medications at the end of life. In safe hands, syringe drivers facilitate safe and effective symptom control for those no longer able to swallow or absorb tablets. But in an overstretched clinical climate, with clinicians encouraged to ‘plan ahead’ to optimise patient care, Gosport is a timely warning of the potential dangers of ‘anticipatory syringe drivers’, write Ben Bowers, Richella Ryan, Sarah Hoare, Kristian Pollock and Stephen Barclay in today’s BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care editorial.
This discussion is part of a larger research programme into decision-making and healthcare at the end of life which is being carried out at the Cambridge Palliative and End of Life Care Group at the Primary Care Unit. Ben Bowers is focusing his PhD research on the practice of anticipatory prescribing more generally and more findings on this topic will be published soon.
Read the full editorial in BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
Media queries: Lucy Lloyd