Glenis Willmott MEP hosts the 5th European Biosafety Summit

4 June 2015

East Midlands MEP demands better protection for workers against medical sharps injuries

Glenis Willmott has called for further action to tackle medical sharps injuries across the EU. These injuries, including needle-stick injuries, can lead to diseases such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

Yesterday, Glenis hosted the 5th European Biosafety Summit at the European Parliament. This event was attended by members of the European Parliament, European Commission, trade unions, Nursing Councils, social partners and clinicians.

The summit focused on how to prevent medical sharps injuries, through the proper implementation of the current EU Directive as well as discussing the possibility of extending the protection to professions out with the healthcare sector.

Cliff Williams, UNISON's spokesperson and co-chair of the European Biosafety Network, said:

"Workers deserve to be protected in their workplace. UNISON campaigned hard to get EU legislation on medical sharps injuries and we will continue to work with MEPs and social partners for further action to prevent any more injuries that can destroy people's lives."

Kim Sunley- Senior Employment Relations Advisor, Royal College of Nursing, said;

“The directive on sharps is a vital initiative in protecting health staff from avoidable injuries, and a great example of what we have achieved together in the interests of staff. When a nurse or other health worker has a sharps injury, it can cause a lot of anxiety and potentially life changing health problems. Employers everywhere must seek to ensure that the directive is fully implemented in all workplaces.” 

Glenis Willmott MEP added:

"The EU has worked hard to put measures in place to protect healthcare workers across Europe. I was pleased to hear that reports have found that EU legislation has made a real difference.

"However, there are many workers out with the healthcare sector who are also at risk who are not protected. For example, domiciliary care workers, police officers and prison officers. We have a moral duty to ensure that all workers across the EU are protected."

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