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Making Healthcare Safer For All

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About Us

The Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network is an independent forum focused on improving healthcare worker and patient safety and caring for those who care for us. 

It is made up of clinicians, professional associations, trades unions and employers, manufacturers and government agencies with the shared objective to prevent occupationally acquired diseases and improve occupational health and safety in healthcare. The Network was originally founded in 1999 as the Safer Needles Network to protect healthcare workers from needlestick injuries.

In recent years the Network has expanded its agenda to drive awareness and promote a greater range of safer practices and new technology and the role they can play in improving healthcare worker and patient safety standards.

Timeline

Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network History Timeline

  1. A growing awareness emerges of the problem of needlestick injuries in the NHS. Dr Philip Bickford Smith, a Consultant Anaesthetist at Bradford Hospital begins running workshops in his area to help highlight the problem.

  2. The main NHS unions, Royal College of Nursing and Unison begin campaigning on the issue alongside the British Medical Association.

  3. The Safer Needles Network (SNN) is formed to formally bring these groups together and help drive awareness of needlestick injuries in the NHS.

    2000
  4. Dr Paul Grime, a Consultant in Occupational Medicine is appointed as the new Chairman of the Safer Needles Network and the National Audit Office releases a landmark report which highlights the scale of needlestick injuries in the NHS.

  5. The Network launches the ‘Safer Needles Now!’ A campaign calling for legislation to tackle the issue.

  6. A landmark legal case in Scotland states that a lack of resources cannot be used as an excuse for poor practice and a lack of safety provisions.

  7. In parallel with the SNN’s activities in the UK, the European Biosafety Network was formed and began campaigning for European legislation to prevent needlestick or sharps injuries.

  8. The EU Sharps Directive is passed mandating the need for the use of safety needles in healthcare settings.

  9. Working with the SNN the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) transpose the EU Sharps Directive into UK law creating the 2013 Sharps Regulations.

  10. The regulations help drive a change in culture around the risk of sharps injuries and supported by enforcement from the Care Quality Commission and Health and Safety Executive, the market is converted from around 3% using safer sharps in the early 2000s to 80% by 2017.

  11. The SNN begins to broaden its agenda to include other healthcare worker safety issues, particularly looking at the exposure of workers and patients to hazardous and carcinogenic drugs.

  12. The SNN is rebranded as the Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network to reflect its now broader agenda and launches the ‘Safety for All’ Campaign. A campaign aimed at raising awareness around the symbiotic relationship of healthcare worker safety and patient safety.

    2021

News

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Webinar: Update on ISO 23908 standard

Webinar: Update on ISO 23908 standard

Webinar to report on progress with updating the ISO 23908 standard on safety mechanisms in the design and manufacture of devices and the prevention of sharps injuries
Read more
Online workshops: Guidance document for the safe management of hazardous medicinal products at work

Online workshops: Guidance document for the safe management of hazardous medicinal products at work

Guidelines for managing hazardous medicinal products (HMPs) will be published by December 2022
Read more
Mind the implementation gap: The persistence of avoidable harm in the NHS

Mind the implementation gap: The persistence of avoidable harm in the NHS

Patients continue to die and be harmed by the failure to learn from unsafe care
Read more
Webinar: Challenges and solutions in healthcare procurement and supply chain that prioritise patient and staff safety

Webinar: Challenges and solutions in healthcare procurement and supply chain that prioritise patient and staff safety

The webinar took place on Wednesday 30 March and featured around 50 attendees
Read more
More News Here

Resource Library

The resource section is a collection of SHBN materials as well as those sourced from a number of third party organisations to download. 

Webinar: Update on ISO 23908 standard

Webinar to report on progress with updating the ISO 23908 standard on safety mechanisms in the design and manufacture of devices and the prevention of sharps injuries
Download

UK National Blood and Body fluid Exposure Annual Survey

Eight national associations and government bodies are supporting the creation of an annual UK national survey of blood & body fluid exposures (BBFE) in healthcare personnel (HCP)
Download

Mind the implementation gap: The persistence of avoidable harm in the NHS

Patients continue to die and be harmed by the failure to learn from unsafe care
Download

Safety For All White Paper

The campaign is calling for improvements in, and between, patient and healthcare worker safety to prevent safety incidents and deliver better outcomes for all.
Download
More Resources Here

Supporters

The Safer Healthcare and Biosafety Network is supported by the following organisations.

  • Edwards
  • Stryker
  • Unison
  • RCN
  • phs
  • PHE
  • PASG-NHS
  • NHS Wales
  • NHS Supply Chain
  • NHS Resolution
  • NHS Improvement
  • NHS England
  • NHS Employers
  • NHS Confederation
  • NASHiCS
  • iosh
  • HSE
  • CQC
  • BMA
  • BDIA
  • BDA
  • BD
  • BBraun
  • ABHI
  • AAGBNI