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The Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust (WEHCT) announced today that it has converted to the BD Eclipse™ Safety Needle, as part of its drive to protect staff against sharps injuries.
The Trust, which runs the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester and the Andover War Memorial Hospital, implemented the conversion to offer increased protection for staff against needlestick injuries, as it recognised the multiple safety and ease of use advantages associated with the BD Eclipse™ Safety Needle.
The BD Eclipse™ Safety Needle is designed for blood collection. The safety shield, which serves as a barrier between the clinician and the needle, is easily activated with one hand, immediately following withdrawal of the needle from the vein. The safety shield locks into place over the needle, thus protecting the user from the risk of a sharps injury.
Sharps injuries are the most frequent occupational hazard faced by nurses, phlebotomists, doctors and other healthcare workers. It is estimated that more than 100,000 needlestick injuries occur each year in the UK. Upon suffering an injury from a contaminated needle or other sharp, the risk of infection is one in three workers for Hepatitis B (HBV), one in 30 for Hepatitis C (HCV) and one in 300 for HIV. These injuries have an enormous psychological impact, and potentially serious health impact, highlighting the pressing need for adoption of safety equipment policies.
The conversion to the BD Eclipse™ Safety Needle was led by Connie Hopper, Head Phlebotomist at WEHCT. Connie had previously tried several different safety needles, and found them both clumsy and difficult to use. Following a spate of needlestick injuries in her department, she trialled the BD Eclipse™ Safety Needle and was impressed with how easily and effectively the safety cover was activated using a one-handed technique.
Connie Hopper explained: “To see your staff going through the trauma of a needlestick injury is not pleasant. I had always prided myself in running a safe department, providing the best for staff and patients, and other than our choice of needles, we were achieving this. Many of us are guilty of shying away from change because of previous experience or fear of the unknown. However, if change means that we can improve safety, we should embrace it.
“I like the fact that the safety shield on the BD Eclipse™ Safety Needle is attached to the needle and not the holder, which makes it easy to use. It did take a couple of days before I was completely confident in using the BD Eclipse™ Safety Needle, but I can honestly say I haven’t looked back since.”
BD representatives went to the hospital and trained the phlebotomists in small groups, showing them how to use the needle and activate the safety shield, whilst also highlighting the high risk of contracting a blood-borne virus due to needlestick injury. Most staff adapted quickly to the new safety device.
Connie Hopper continues: “One of my initial concerns with the conversion was that the BD Eclipse™ Safety Needle does not have flash-back, but it did not take me long to realise that with experience, you know you are in the vein; you do not need the flash-back to tell you this. It made me reflect on my own practice, and that of my fellow colleagues.”
WEHCT was already using the BD Vacutainer™ Blood Collection Tube, which helped ease the conversion to the BD Eclipse™ Safety Needle due to the immediate compatibility.
Healthcare workers have called for better protection from the risk of sharps injuries for decades. This has been recognised with the publication in June of a new EU Directive, aimed at achieving the safest possible working environment for healthcare workers, through the prevention of sharps injuries. Each member state must now transpose this Directive into national legislation by May 2013 at the latest.