NEEDLESTICK INJURY REPORT: NEEDLESTICK INJURIES: SHARPEN YOUR AWARENESS
Foreword by the Minister for Health and Community Care
We need to look after hard-working NHS staff. Nobody should be made ill by their work and protecting the health and well-being of NHS staff must be a priority.
Our National Health; A plan for action, a plan for change committed the NHS to provide staff with a safe working environment. That means looking out for their health and safety. Needlestick injuries are one of the most common injuries experienced by NHS staff. That is why we have been working in partnership with staff to investigate why this is and develop solutions to reduce the incidence of these injuries. The Needlestick Injuries Report, "Needlestick Injuries: Sharpen Your Awareness" makes a good start to addressing the issues and makes a series of practical and sensible recommendations.
Implementing the Report's recommendations is mainly the responsibility of NHS management. They have responsibility for the health and safety of their staff, tackling needlestick injuries must be part of that responsibility. In particular we need to raise awareness of the problem. We need to emphasise that needlestick injuries are not just 'part of the job' and that all needlestick injuries should be reported. Staff themselves_whether doctors, nurses, or ancillary workers-have a vital role in adopting best practice at all times and in this way protect themselves and their colleagues. I recognise that we also need to support more and better education and training. Many of these accidents are avoidable if best practice is understood and implemented by all concerned. The human cost of a member of staff actually contracting a blood-borne virus is incalculable.
The Report also addresses the need to consider the introduction of safer devices. It recommends that all NHS employers carry out a full risk assessment when deciding whether to introduce safer devices. This should ensure that decisions are not taken solely on cost grounds, but also take into account a range of other factors such as risk and the effectiveness of the device.
Above all, I want staff to have a safe place to work. An environment that is safe for staff, patients and visitors and supports the delivery of high quality patient centred care.
Susan Deacon MSP
Minister for Health and Community Care