The Australian Government has announced an A$70m grant to purchase new infusion pumps to improve safety in public hospitals across New South Wales (NSW).

More than 10,000 infusion pumps with cutting-edge technology have been ordered to deliver intravenous (IV) fluids and medication to patients and for the first time there will be uniform system for providing IV medication to patients in all NSW hospitals, the government said.

The new pumps will replace the existing ageing devices, and will be used for patients undergoing surgery, or being treated in an ICU or general ward, emergency department or an oncology clinic in a public hospital.

A team of 35 specialists will roll out the pumps over a 18-month period, starting later in 2009, the government said.

Each pump will be custom fitted according to individual hospital settings and comprehensive training will be given to over 40,000 doctors and nurses.

The contract, awarded to Pharmatel Fresenius Kabi, is the largest single contract for infusion pump supply in the world, the government said.