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Originator: National Patient Safety Alert - NHS England & NHS Improvement

Issue date: 19-May-2021 10:02:54

This alert has been issued to:
  • Care Trusts
  • Mental Health Trusts
  • Specialists Trusts
  • Learning Disabilities Trusts
  • Mental Health & Social Care Trusts
  • Ambulance Trusts
  • Mental Health & Learning Disabilities Trusts
  • Acute Trusts
  • Community Trusts

  • Other contacts
  • Independent Healthcare Providers (registered with CAS)
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • NHS Regional Offices
  • Special Health Authorities
  • GP - Locum
  • NHS 111 and Out of hours providers
  • GP Practices
  • Primary Care Networks
  • GP Practices 1

Action category: Immediate Action

Title: Urgent assessment/treatment following ingestion of 'super strong' magnets

Broadcast content:

Small powerful magnets, also known as neodymium or ‘super strong’ rare-earth magnets, are sold as toys, decorative items, and fake piercings. If more than one ‘super strong’ magnet is swallowed separately, or a ‘super strong’ magnet is swallowed with a metallic object, then they can be strongly attracted together from different parts of the intestines. This compression of bowel tissue can cause necrosis and perforation of the intestines and/or blood vessels within hours. Therefore urgent assessment and treatment is vital.

The alert asks providers to ensure any patients who have ingested (or are suspected of ingesting) ‘super strong’ magnets are referred to an Emergency Department as a medical emergency. In addition, organisations with an Emergency Department  are asked to ensure the right processes are in place so that any child or adult seeking emergency care having swallowed these magnets receive the necessary urgent assessments, investigations and treatments.

Additional information: This alert has been sent to GP Practices. It has not been sent to Community Pharmacy, Dental or Optometry contractors.

Alert reference: NatPSA/2021/002/NHSPS

Action underway deadline: 21-May-2021

Action complete deadline: 19-Aug-2021


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Email: safetyalerts@mhra.gov.uk

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency