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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.

NHS trusts hiring non-nurses for nursing roles

NHS trusts hiring non-nurses for nursing roles

Royal College of Nursing says recruiting people without the correct qualifications puts patients at risk.
Read more
PPE guidance continues to put staff and patients at risk

PPE guidance continues to put staff and patients at risk

Dr David Tomlinson has written a piece today on the hub of Patient Safety Learning…
Read more
Safety put at risk by staff burnout in health and social care

Safety put at risk by staff burnout in health and social care

NHS and care staff in England are so burnt out that it has become an…
Read more
RCN publishes survey into sharps injuries and mucocutaneous exposures in 2020

RCN publishes survey into sharps injuries and mucocutaneous exposures in 2020

Sharps injuries (SI) and mucocutaneous exposures (MCE), collectively termed “blood and body fluid exposure” (BBFE),…
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. 

Workforce Burnout and Resilience in the NHS and Social Care

Health and Social Care Committee Session Report on Burnout in the NHS
Download

CQC’s Strategy from 2021

An outline of the CQC’s new strategy, designed to ensure relevance, flexibility and responsiveness of regulation.
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
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