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Unions call for safer needle ruling

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Safer needles must be made compulsory across the NHS, say unions, following the tragic case of a nurse who died after contracting HIV from a sharps injury.

Juliet Young contracted the virus in 1999 while working at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. She died from pneumonia in January last year. Although wearing gloves, Ms Young became infected with HIV after pricking her thumb while taking a blood sample from an HIV-positive patient, an inquest heard last week.

A trust spokesperson said safety procedures had been strengthened by the trust’s introduction in 2003 of retractable lancets and needles.

But Unison’s head of health, Karen Jennings, said: ‘How many more people have to die before NHS Employers make safer needles compulsory throughout the NHS?’

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