Patient safety alert: Steroid Emergency Card

Patient safety alert: Steroid Emergency Card

August 17, 2020

A National Patient Safety Alert has been issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s national patient safety team, supported by the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Physicians and the Society for Endocrinology, regarding the issuing of a Steroid Emergency Card to relevant patients to support the early recognition and treatment of adrenal crisis in adults.

Read the National Patient Safety Alert

All patients with primary adrenal insufficiency are steroid dependent and some patients, who take oral, inhaled or topical steroids for other medical conditions, may develop secondary adrenal insufficiency and become steroid dependent. The omission of steroids for patients with primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency can lead to adrenal crisis; a medical emergency which if left untreated can be fatal.

Recently published national guidance promotes the issuing of a new patient-held Steroid Emergency Card to help healthcare staff identify patients with adrenal insufficiency and provide information on emergency treatment if the patient is acutely ill, experiences trauma, surgery or other major stressors.

Prescribers are asked to ensure all eligible patients are issued with a Steroid Emergency Card. Community pharmacies are asked to hold copies of the Steroid Emergency Card in stock to provide to patients if they lose or misplace their original cards.

You can view a PDF of the new card on the Society for Endocrinology website.

The Steroid Emergency Card will be available to order from Primary Care Support England (PCSE online) from 1st September 2020.

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