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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

If you believe we’re not covering a news story that we should be, then please get in contact.

European Biosafety Network publishes new guidance to prevent sharps injuries

European Biosafety Network publishes new guidance to prevent sharps injuries

Europe must act now to stop the spread of deadly diseases due to COVID-19 Healthcare…
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European Parliament votes to stop cancer at work and include hazardous drugs and reprotoxins in the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD)

European Parliament votes to stop cancer at work and include hazardous drugs and reprotoxins in the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD)

Stop Cancer at Work Campaign calls on the European Commission to work with the Parliament…
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Royal College of Nursing launch a sharps survey for their members

Royal College of Nursing launch a sharps survey for their members

The RCN have recently ran a survey asking members to share information on their experiences…
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Report by Swedish medical device company Mölnlycke find that incidents of sharp injuries have increased because of the Covid-19 pandemic

Report by Swedish medical device company Mölnlycke find that incidents of sharp injuries have increased because of the Covid-19 pandemic

A survey by the Swedish medical devices company Mölnlycke of 251 Occupational Health (OH) professionals…
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. 

Guidance on Preventing Sharps Injuries in the MDR

Interpretation Guidance on Annex I, Points 11.1 and 22.2 of EU Regulation 2017/45 of the European Parliament and of the Council
Download

Managers’ Guide to Improving Lone Worker Safety

An NHS Employers’ guide for employers and managers on what to do to improve the personal safety of lone workers.
Download

Managing the Risks of Sharps Injuries

An NHS Employers’ guide to help individuals understand and manage the risks from sharps injuries.
Download

Staff Guide to Improving Lone Worker Safety

An NHS Employers’ guide for staff who work alone to improve their personal safety.
Download
More Resources Here

Supporters

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

  • 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