Procurement events help trusts meet new laws on clinical sharps safety


NHS Supply Chain organises free events to help NHS organisations implement new EU directive

NHS Supply Chain is running a series of national events next month to help NHS trusts prepare for the introduction of forthcoming legislation surrounding clinical sharps safety.

The events, which are free for NHS clinical staff, will take place throughout March and will focus on raising awareness of EU Directive 2010/32/EU and the support available from NHS Supply Chain to help trusts implement changes to clinical processes.

Coming into force on 11 May, the directive requires all trusts to have carried out a risk assessment of the potential for exposure to blood-borne infections by clinical staff and to have prepared an action plan for implementing improvements to processes and procedures that eliminate or reduce risk.

The directive specifically refers to the focal role played by safety-engineered medical devices such as spring-loaded retractable needles, needletip guards, puncture-resistant sharps containers, needle destructors, blunt sutures, and needle-free access valves for intravenous sets. These have been proven to reduce the rate of needlestick injuries in healthcare workers to nearly zero in some studies. And, while adoption means an initial financial outlay greater than that of the traditional devices, research shows that it reduces the huge costs associated with a needlestick injury and boosts staff morale.

It comes as figures show that in the UK alone there are 100,000 so-called ‘needlestick’ incidents every year, leaving healthcare workers at risk of contracting up to 30 potentially life-threatening blood-borne pathogens such as Hepatitis B and HIV.

The NHS Supply Chain events will also give clinical staff the chance to find out more about guidance published by the National Patient Safety Association (NPSA) to improve the safety of spinal injections and prevent accidental misadministration of epidural and intravenous medicines.

“The new directive is a major step forward for improving health and safety among health care staff”, said Chris Littlejohn, clinical lead at NHS Supply Chain, who has led the development of the implementation support process.

“NHS Supply Chain can work with trusts to review their current position, carry out a comprehensive risk assessment, identify and plan for staff training needs and support product selection, ensuring a tailored approach for a smooth transition.”

Event delegates will get the opportunity to gain expert advice from NHS Supply Chain’s clinical nurse advisors on effective implementation of the guidance, as well as discuss product and supply options with the procurement and account management teams to provide a tailored and cost-effective solution.

Sign up for your free email newsletter

For more information on the events, click here.