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Innovative device to reduce needlestick injuries


A device designed to stop nurses from manually re-sheathing needles could help to significantly reduce the number of needlestick injuries.

Nurses using the “StickSafe” device do not have to touch contaminated needles. The device, which looks like a small tray, separates the needle from the syringe prior to disposal.

It is estimated that using the new device could reduce needlestick injuries by more than 50 per cent, potentially saving the NHS more than £160m.  

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, dean of King’s College London’s Florence Nightingale school of nursing and midwifery, said: “With both the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and the Health Protection Agency recently conducting examinations into occurrences of needlestick injury, the potential contribution of this innovative device couldn’t be more timely.”  

The device is one of many new ideas nurses can learn about at the NHS Innovation EXPO event.

The largest healthcare innovation event in the UK, EXPO will bring together more than 10,000 delegates to share innovative ideas, evidence and best practice. It is intended to help drive the adoption and diffusion of new ideas by encouraging and inspiring nurses and other clinicians to adopt and spread innovation in the NHS.


Readers' comments (2)

  • What is wrong with nurses our there? There is no need to ever re-sheath a used / dirty needle. Good practice encourages disposal at the point of use. Surely if you wish to carry out outdated and dangerous practices then this is tantamount to deliberate self-harm!
    And it is therefore about time we re-assessed these nurses reduced mental wellbeing, and act accordingly.

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  • It is certainly true that many NHS trusts have recently adopted a disposal at point of use system – where a miniature bin is carried to the patient so that the used needle can be discarded immediately. However, this point of use system, where used needles are not re-sheathed, does not solve the significant problem of needlesticks that occur from the bins themselves: Many staff still currently injure themselves when they go to dispose of needles in the already overly full bins that contain many potentially lethal and exposed needles that have not been re-sheathed.

    Re-sheathing as a practice, was rightly, previously discouraged, and yet this new innovation makes re-sheathing safe – which all told would decrease the rate of needlestick injury further still. The disposal at point of use system also comes with its own disadvantages, namely the additional costs of purchasing miniature bins and the increased environmental impact of incinerating many smaller bins instead of fewer larger ones.

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