Antiseptic solutions should not be poured into gallipots!

Antiseptic solutions should not be poured into gallipots – this would prevent it being inadvertantly drawn up into a syringe. This policy needs to be adopted and enforced everywhere throughout the world.

In many institutions this policy already exists (see here) however healthcare workers still pour chlorhexidine into gallipots. At a recent presentation to over 500 anaesthetists from across Australia there wasn’t a single person who had not seen antiseptic solutions poured into gallipots. We need to understand this ‘gap’ that exists between work as imagined in policies and work as performed on the front line:


The reality is that antiseptic solutions are poured into unlabelled gallipots in thousands of hospitals every day throughout Australia and likely the rest of the world. Labelling requires the use of sterile markers or sterile labels and adds another layer of complexity to our work environments. To rely on this policy as a safety measure is extremely ineffective:


Historically, when iodine was used (it still is) for skin preparation, this process of pouring antiseptic into unlabelled gallipots did not present a problem – it was obvious that the brown solution was iodine. When vividly coloured chlorhexidine is used it also does not represent a problem.

Please help ban almost colourless pink chlorhexidine from our hospitals and sign the petition – click here.