It is now more important than ever to ensure GP scales are weighing accurately – as Trading Standards are cracking down on those that provide inaccurate readings.
Leicester City Council is the first local authority to check the scales in 35 practices after ‘concerns have been raised nationally about the dangers to patients of using non-compliant weighing scales’.
Class III Approved scales should be used if the scale is determining ‘mass in the practice of medicine for weighing patients for the purposes of monitoring, diagnosis and medical treatment,’ according to the NAWI directive. But what is the legislation, why are councils concerned and what can GP surgeries do? Marsden explains.
‘GP Practices are responsible’
In 2014, the National Measurement and Regulation Office tested medical weighing equipment used by doctors’ surgeries, health centres and mobile health visitors. We reported on the project here.
Much of the findings centred around the use of Class III Approved weighing scales. Many GPs were opting to use bathroom scales which were not approved and not tested to the same tolerances of required for Class III. Overall knowledge on the importance of Class III scales was low. You can find the full report findings here.
Professor Nigel Sparrow, the Care Quality Commission’s senior national GP advisor, said: “GP practices are responsible for ensuring their medical devices are maintained appropriately: this includes maintaining and repairing all medical devices correctly, including reconditioning and refurbishment.”
Why are councils investigating?
Trading Standards inspectors make appointments to check scales – often on staff training days when patients are not using the surgery. Leicester City Council claims that as part of this process, they found scales which ‘could pose a risk when calculating the corresponding dosage of medicines needed'.
An investigation has already begun. A council spokesperson said: “The testing work has generally been received positively by GP surgeries, who understand the importance of using reliable, accurate equipment for patient care.”
Scales for GPs
Marsden has a range of Class III Approved medical scales for GP surgeries. There are various types of GP scales which are suitable.
Column Scales: These scales are easy to read and operate with an indicator situated at waist height, and a height measure is available for easy BMI calculations.
The Marsden M-100 and Marsden M-110 are premium quality column scales with a full numeric keypad and three displays for weight, height and BMI. The Marsden M-125 features an easy to use indicator and BSA calculation function – a first for a UK weighing scale.
Floor Scales: These scales are perfect as they are robust, lightweight and portable - perfect for using in consulting rooms. The Marsden M-420 and Marsden M-425 provide accuracy to the nearest 50g. The M-425 also has a remote display for keeping weight readings private. The Marsden M-550 is our lowest priced Class III Approved scale.
Baby Scales: Marsden also recommends the Marsden M-300 and Marsden M-400 for GP surgeries. The M-300 is a lightweight, one piece baby scale. The M-400 has a removable baby tray which underneath reveals a weighing platform for toddlers to use. The Marsden M-700 is a 3-in-1 scale - capable of weighing babies, children and adults.