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The subcutaneous ambulatory syringe driver is a small, portable, battery powered infusion device. It is used to administer a continuous subcutaneous infusion (CSCI) of medications to optimise symptom control. The syringe driver is used in palliative care to enable the patient to receive effective symptom management at any stage of their illness. The purpose of administering medications via a subcutaneous infusion is to achieve a steady plasma concentration of drugs, when other routes are inappropriate. It enables avoidance of regular injections for the patient, and enables the patient to retain mobility and independence, where appropriate.

These guidelines are intended for use by all nurses within Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (ASPH) involved with setting up, monitoring and caring for patients with a subcutaneous ambulatory syringe driver in situ.

The syringe driver used across ASPH is the McKinley T34 Ambulatory Syringe Pump.



The purpose of the guideline is to ensure a standardised approach when using a syringe driver to administer medications subcutaneously and therefore optimise patient symptom management, to minimise the potential risk of drug error and to maintain patient safety.

It provides a framework for ensuring that registered nursing staff develop competencies ensuring that syringe drivers are used safely and effectively.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Susan Dargan, Macmillan Nurse Specialist Palliative Care
Ratified by: Senior Nursing and Midwifery Leadership Committee
Date Ratified: November 2016
Date Issued: January 2017
Review Date: November 2019
Target Audience: All registered nursing staff
Contact name: Susan Dargan, Macmillan Nurse Specialist Palliative Care


See also:

  • Assessing a Patient’s Mental Capacity to Make Decisions
  • Medicines Management Policy
  • Medical Devices Training for Clinical Staff Policy
  • Cleaning and Disinfection Policy
  • Hand Hygiene Policy
  • Safe Handling and Disposal of Sharps
  • Management of Medical Devices