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October/November 2007 (vol. 04/3)

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Dilemma: Safer needles

Do we need new legislation mandating safer needle devices in healthcare?

Summary:

A 2006 resolution to the European Committee on Employment and Social Affairs recommended a raft of new measures to protect healthcare workers from bloodborne infections due to needlestick injuries1. It called for legal changes to mandate safer needle devices, modified working practices and rapid access to post-exposure prophylaxis. But does Britain need safer-needles legislation?

JULIAN TOPPING

In the US, the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act 2000 requires all needles to be ‘safe’ and there has been a long standing debate between those who support the introduction.…

Julian Topping recognises the value of safer needle devices in high-risk areas, but believes that mandating their use would present a huge and unnecessary cost to the NHS and divert resources away from other risk-control measures.

STEPHEN HUGHES

It is our obligation, as policy makers, to ensure that all employees receive the same level of protection, especially from occupational injuries that cause major harm, both physically and emotionally.…

MEP Stephen Hughes believes new legislation mandating the use of safer needle devices is needed in order to protect healthcare workers from the risk of bloodborne infection.

Author: Topping J, Hughes S

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Occupational Health at Work October/November 2007 (vol. 04/3) pp34-35

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