Needle injuries warning19th November 2008
Nurses leaders have called for safer needles to be introduced after a poll revealed that many nurses have been accidentally pricked by needles during the course of their work.
The Royal College of Nursing believes that the introduction of shielded needles, which have a plastic collar as added protection against accidents, could make a big difference.
However, a survey carried out among some 2,000 nurses across the UK showed that 48% had been pricked by a needle previously used on a patient. Many others say they do not have access to safer needle devices that could help avoid them accidentally sustaining needlestick injuries and several of those who suffered injuries were not given any help from their employer to help counter the effect of the needlestick injury.
Such measures could significantly protect nurses from infections such as HIV and hepatitis.
Records of needlestick injuries were first started in the 1990s and figures show that since then 11 staff have caught hepatitis as a result of such injuries and five have contracted HIV.
RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: "It is clear that needles injuries are an everyday threat for nurses.
"Government and employers in the NHS need to start taking this issue seriously by introducing needle policies and investing in safer alternatives to traditional needles so that these accidents don't happen in the first place."
NHS Employers acknowledged the RCN fndings and said the NHS was taking the issue of needlestick injuries seriously and had produced extensive guidance for trusts on handling needlestick injuries.
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