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NHS: Industrial Health and Safety

Volume 477: debated on Friday 13 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what procedures are in place to reduce the number of needlestick injuries to NHS staff; (209174)

(2) how many injuries to NHS staff in each trust were recorded as a result of needlestick injury in each of the last five years; and what types of infection resulted from such injuries.

There are a range of measures to reduce the risk of sharps injuries, including the safe handling and disposal of sharps, the provision of medical devices that incorporate sharps protection and the wearing of protective clothing.

The Department's ‘Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections’, revised in January 2008, places a duty on national health service bodies to ensure that health care workers are protected from exposure to communicable infections during the course of the their work, and that all staff are suitably educated in the prevention and control of health care associated infections. Copies have been placed in the Library and are also available on the Department's website at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4139336.

NHS Employers have also issued guidance on the avoidance of needlestick injuries in ‘The healthy workplaces handbook’, which is available by subscription.

Information on the number and outcomes of needlestick injuries to national health service staff in each trust is not collected centrally. However, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) collects information on surveillance of significant occupational exposures to blood-borne viruses in health care workers in the United Kingdom; its latest report is available on the HPA's website at:

http://www.camr.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1205394781623.