This month’s letter

Nurse prescribing is a backward step

I attended the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners
Symposium 2003, reported in your journal (Occupational Health, July 2003), and
can assure you every group I spoke to was firmly against the idea of nurse

Leaving aside the tremendous cost to employers, why would OHNs want to
prescribe? We would be going back to the old reactive days of the OH treatment
room instead of the proactive service we are trying so hard to promote.

Why change a system that works, Standing Orders, which should only be used
when absolutely necessary, for example, offshore oil rigs – and most commonly,
travel vaccines.

As nurses we do get ourselves muddled at times and forget our real
priorities – which should be a risk-based service delivery.

Phil Richardson
Chairman, RCN West London Group,Occupational Health Nurses

Tree fellers were unprotected

Thank you for an interesting article on hand-arm vibration syndrome
(Occupational Health, July 2003).

However, while it provided some excellent information on managing vibration
and those exposed to it, I was rather alarmed at the photographs of the tree fellers.

The first depicted someone using a large chainsaw with negligible
protection, apart from a helmet and pair of overglasses. There was no visor, no
proper clothing and no ear defenders. His colleague a couple of feet away was
equally poorly protected. The second picture showed a man using a road drill –
again with no noticeable ear protection.

Tools that vibrate are often highly dangerous, and very noisy. Employees who
use them not only need to look after their hands, but also limbs and ears.

Lindsey Hall
National OH manager, Environment Agency

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