Scottish health service sets tough safety agenda

Focus on occupational health in Scotland sees the health executive set
rigorous new standards

HR directors at the Scottish Health Department have placed the health and
safety of its staff at the top of the agenda.

The Health Department has launched six working groups which will set minimum
occupational health standards it wants managers to follow within two years.

Personnel staff want to cut accidents by five per cent a year over the next
six years and develop a national OH service in the NHS in Scotland within three
years.

HR director of the Scottish Executive Health Department Dr Gerry Marr told
the audience of 130 OH nurses at the conference he was committed to developing
a clearer occupational health strategy in the next five years.

"We want to promote occupational health in a more focused way and
recognise that staff need to be supported by the environment that they work
in."

He added, "We are looking to support and expand the role of nurses in
our occupational health service and in the health service generally."

One working group is looking at the number of injuries from old-style
needles and the cost of introducing retractable needles in the NHS in Scotland.

The initiative was launched by the Scottish Partnership Forum at its meeting
last month.

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