New sharps guidance from WISE

New recommendations on ensuring injection safety when treating diabetes have been published by the Workshop on Injection Safety in Endocrinology (WISE).

They have been drawn up to ensure the safety of patients, professionals and all people coming into potential contact with sharps used in the treatment of diabetes.

Key topics

Some of the topics covered by the WISE recommendations include:

  • risks that diabetes healthcare workers are exposed to;
  • the impending EU legislation;
  • injury implications of different devices;
  • injection technique implications;
  • education and training to create a safety culture;
  • the cost effectiveness of safety devices; and
  • awareness and responsibility of safe sharps disposal.

The suggestions from WISE follow a four-month survey of sharps injuries among 634 nurses from 13 Western European countries and Russia, as well as the outcome of an October 2011 workshop on injection safety in endocrinology run by WISE, which brought together 58 leaders in the field of diabetes safety from 13 countries.

The recommendations come as attention is being focused on sharps injuries by the new European Council Directive 2010/32/EU on the prevention of sharps injuries in healthcare, which EU member states will need to implement by 11 May 2013 at the latest.

This stipulates that wherever there is a risk of sharps injury, the user and all healthcare workers must be protected by adequate safety precautions, including the use of “medical devices incorporating safety-engineered protection mechanisms”.

Dr Kenneth Strauss, director of safety in medicine at the European Medical Association, said: “The everyday activities of healthcare and downstream workers put them at risk of serious infection from more than 30 potentially dangerous pathogens – including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV – through injuries with contaminated needles and sharps.

“More than one million sharps injuries are estimated to occur in the EU each year, but the majority of injuries are preventable with the provision of elective training, safer working procedures and safety-engineered medical devices.”

The WISE recommendations are intended to act as a “road map” for implementing the EU directive in diabetes care settings, and include a scale that shows the strength of each recommendation.

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