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.


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. Unison begins campaigning on the issue.

  2. The main NHS unions and the Royal College of Nursing 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.

  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.



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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. 

Safety For All Conference Report

On Wednesday 7 December 2022 the inaugural Safety for All conference was held at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Safety For All Conference

The Safety For All Conference Programme: Wednesday 7th December, 09:00 – 16:00

Patient Safety Incident Response Framework

The NHS’s approach to developing and maintaining effective systems and processes for responding to patient safety incidents for the purpose of learning and improving patient safety

Staff Support Guide

A good practice resource following serious patient harm
More Resources Here


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

  • UK HSA
  • Boston Scientific
  • Stryker
  • Unison
  • RCN
  • phs
  • NHS Wales
  • NHS Supply Chain
  • NHS Resolution
  • NHS Improvement
  • NHS England
  • NHS Employers
  • NHS Confederation
  • iosh
  • HSE
  • CQC
  • BMA
  • BDIA
  • BDA
  • ABHI