Safer Needles Network
Infection Prevention Society
Nursing Times, The Nursing Week
Trusts in breach of sharps rules
NHS Networks: NHS staff ignoring ‘sharps’ warning
A number of UK NHS Trusts have failed to implement safer sharps despite EU Directive
reveals MindMetre research
London, February 2014 – New research from MindMetre reveals that one third of NHS Trusts do not instruct staff to use safety devices ‘wherever possible’ in their sharps policies, despite this being an explicit requirement of the UK’s Health and Safety (Sharps Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013[i].
The majority of NHS Trusts are vigorously working towards compliance with the EU Directive[ii] on the prevention of sharps injuries. Five in every six have reviewed their sharps policies, and two thirds have instructed staff to use safety devices ‘wherever possible’ in order to protect clinical, care and ancillary staff from injury and possible infection, but some Trusts are being left behind.
Findings from the MindMetre research report include:
- 84% of Trusts have revised and published their sharps policy in the light of the EU Directive, of whom 17% revised their sharps policy post-Directive and pre UK statutory instrument
- 59% of Trusts instruct staff to use safety devices ‘wherever possible’ in their sharps policy; however 33% of Trusts do not make this instruction in their sharps policy
- 29% mandate the use of safety devices in particular categories, particularly cannulation and phlebotomy
- Of those Trusts able to make an accurate estimate, safety device usage (measured in volume of procedures) has risen from 23% in 2009, to 67% by the end of 2013
Paul Lindsell, Managing Director of MindMetre Research, notes: “Evidently, the larger proportion of NHS Trusts are taking compliance with EU Council Directive 2010/32/EU and Health and Safety (Sharps Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 very seriously. With almost a fifth of Trusts having revised their sharps policies in advance of the mandatory national regulation date in 2013, and with two thirds of Trusts instructing staff to use safety sharps products ‘wherever possible’, it is clear that most are demonstrating their concern with clinical, care and ancillary staff safety with tangible action. However, there remains a proportion of Trusts that have not revised their sharps policies; moreover, one third of Trusts are not encouraging their staff to use safety devices ‘wherever possible’, despite this being an explicit piece of guidance in the relevant regulation.
“We expect further progress to be made across 2014, both by pioneering Trusts in this regard, and also from those that have made slower progress. An estimated one million sharps injuries occur in the European Union each year[iii]. The risk of injury and possible infection (from bloodborne pathogens including Hepatitis and HIV) for the dedicated people working in our health service is clearly unacceptable and now has the force of EU law and local regulation behind it.”
Over the period July-December 2013, MindMetre Research conducted a request under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (2000), amongst the UK’s 159 NHS Acute Trusts.
The enquiry sought to understand the proportion of Trusts that had reviewed/revised their safety policy in the light of the EU Directive 2010/32/EU in May 2010, through UK statutory instrument, 2013 No. 645, The Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013.
The research covered four key areas:-
- The proportion of Acute Trusts that has revised and published their sharps policy before or subsequent to the May 2013 deadline for local law transposition of the EU Sharps Directive
- The level of instruction in those sharps policies to use safety devices wherever possible
- Any level of mandatory instruction to use safety devices, and for which procedures
- Safety device implementation levels, comparing 2009 status with that in 2013
[ii] European Council, Council Directive 2010/32/EU of 10 May 2010 implementing the Framework Agreement on prevention from sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32010L0032:EN:NOT
[iii] EU Commission for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, New legislation to reduce injuries for 3.5 million healthcare workers in Europe, 8th March 2010, http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-10-243_en.htm
Support for UK MPs’ higher pay sees dramatic increase
says new independent research from MindMetre
Despite adverse commentary on recommendations on MPs’ pay from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, public support for higher remuneration for parliamentarians has risen dramatically, according to a new study by MindMetre research.
The study, which compares voter views from January/February and November/December 2013 shows that almost two in every five voters (37.2%) now think that MPs should be paid “more in line with business leaders”, a virtual doubling of public support since the beginning of the year. Amongst young working voters (25-34 yrs) almost half (49.4%) are in favour of higher MPs’ pay. Least support (29.9%) comes from voters in their last working decade (55-64 yrs).
‘More in line with business leaders’ is defined in the study as equivalency with senior business managers who, according to third party evidence, are paid between £80,000 and £130,000 per year. Senior civil servants – another possible comparator – have a median pay level around one sixth higher than the basic salary of an MP
The new research also reveals that 40.5% of UK citizens believe higher pay for MPs would largely eliminate false expenses claims, cash for questions, inappropriate commercial interests, and other abuses of the current system.
Paul Lindsell, Managing Director of MindMetre, notes, “The issue of MPs’ remuneration is too important a subject for emotional response or political posturing. It needs to be the subject of objective and balanced debate – which is certainly not a hallmark of the current situation. Getting remuneration levels right is critical to ensuring top talent is attracted to British politics, while at the same time removing abuse from the system. The real debate is about getting the best outcome for British citizens in decades to come.
“As a completely apolitical organisation, we felt it important to offer some hard statistics into the debate. The outcomes of this survey, tracking public opinion through the year, but importantly conducted just before public opinion could be swayed by recent press coverage, show several key trends. On the one hand, support for higher MPs’ pay is not yet supported by an overall majority of voters. On the other hand, a significant and growing proportion of the electorate feel MPs should be paid more, attracting talent into politics and helping to eliminate abuses of the system. Since almost half of younger working adults support this view, we can sensibly conclude that support for higher pay is likely to rise in coming years.”
MindMetre Research interviewed a sample of 2,000 UK citizens, nationally representative by age, region and broad social background. The interviews were conducted online in January/February 2013 and again in November/December 2013. Respondents were asked their views on whether MPs should be paid more in line with business leaders, and whether higher MPs’ salaries would largely eliminate abuses of their position. The margin of error in this study is +/- 2%. For a full copy of the report please click here.
Healthcare Associated Infections: litigation and reputation:
Royal College of Nursing Quality and Safety eBulletin
Two thirds of Britons likely to sue if they contract a serious infection during hospital treatment, says new MindMetre study
(London: January 2014) Two thirds (64%) of Britons would sue a hospital if they contracted a serious Healthcare Associated Infection (HCAI) while undergoing treatment. This is the key finding from a new study on the subject by independent organisation MindMetre Research
This tendency towards litigation on the part of British citizens revealed by the MindMetre study highlights an important source of reputational risk for NHS Acute Trusts and private hospitals. In the new NHS structure, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be planning the level and type of services that they commission from Acute Trusts, and it is likely that HCAI rates will be a significant factor in those decisions, as CCGs responsibly look for the best service for their patients.
On the subject of HCAI reduction, Acute Trusts have been focused on reducing MRSA and C.difficile infection rates, and have scored considerable success in these two areas. However, official sources have confirmed that an increasing range of new infection types, some of which are also antibiotic-resistant, are appearing in UK hospitals.
The MindMetre study suggests that more resources should be devoted to HCAI prevention and management techniques, from basic hygiene to rapid screening of all patients. The paper recognises that additional investments are challenging in a health system under pressure to achieve £20bn in ‘efficiency savings’ by 2015, and £50bn by 2020. Nevertheless, the paper suggests that the reputational/litigation risk to hospitals with higher HCAI rates, and the possible consequential loss of patient volumes, is a major incentive to focus on reducing the full range of HCAIs.
Paul Lindsell, Managing Director at MindMetre, comments, “Healthcare Associated Infections are both an ethical and practical issue in our healthcare system. Every effort must be made to ensure that when one goes to hospital for treatment, one does not end up with a further serious infection. However, on a practical note, any serious underperformance on a key patient safety issue in UK hospitals is now seen to have equally serious consequences for the relevant Acute Trust. In the new CCG-led NHS structure, it is quite easy to see patient volumes being adversely affected if a hospital has a higher than average HCAI rate. We contend that more attention needs to be paid to reducing HCAIs outside of the great success achieved with MRSA and C.difficile.”
To download a copy please click here
Fieldwork was conducted by MindMetre Research from September-December 2013, via online questionnaires, amongst a nationally representative sample of 3,000+ per country, in the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United States. Margin of error:- +/- 1.78%.
 For instance, HPA, English National Point Prevalence Survey on Healthcare-associated Infections and Antimicrobial Use, 2011: preliminary data
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