More than 1,200 NHS staff awarded compensation after being injured by needles

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The details released by NHS are scaring and shocking. In the last six years, a total of 1,833 claims have been raised over injuries caused by needlesticks. Out of those cases, 1,212 workers have won compensation. Still, 326 cases are open and continue to be heard.

The period runs from 2012 to 2017. The cases of needle injuries have had infections of either HIV or hepatitis B or C. Unison, the representative group representing mainly the support staff says that this number is alarming. They advise proper disposal of syringes and needles by the medical staff.

Apart from the affected and infected workers, NHS reports an expenditure of £4,077,441 in claims settlement since 2012. With some claims still pending decision, this amount is expected to rise. This amount, NHS says that it is enough to pay 200 juniors nurses for up to a year, rather than a personal injury solicitor‌ and the other costs involved, if this kind of mistake could only have been avoided.

Out of the huge number, medical practitioners account for 11%. This mainly goes to the surgeons who in their call of duty have ended up stabbing themselves accidentally with infected tools. One such surgeon is Robert Pickard. The consultant doctor is said to have received Hepatitis C inflection from a patient accidentally. His diagnosis came in 2008. He immediately left service only to die 4 years later. His diagnosis sent cold shivers to hundreds of patients that he had operated.

Majority of the workers bearing the cost of careless disposal are cleaners, porters and maintenance staff. According to Unison, these cases are arising from the failure to use sharp bins. When the bins are used, some fill them dangerously. Whether failure to use the bins or wrong use of them, the worker is at risk.

On arguing their cases, the workers have mentioned infections as a cause to worry. Statistically, these accidental injuries and infections have one in every three workers infected with Hepatitis B. Similarly, one in every thirty is infected with Hepatitis C. HIV infection stands at 1 in 300 workers. Bodily injuries and psychological trauma have been the other points listed. The workers have narrated the challenges of living with the fear of what they could have been infected with before the diagnosis process is over.

To prevent the occurrence of these payouts and injuries, both NHS and Unison advise the same way. Medical practitioners should ensure proper disposal of needles, syringes, and surgical blades. Proper use of sharp bins that are brightly marked has been emphasised. Injections should only be done with a sharp bin close to the medical staff giving the injection.

Needlestick injuries can and should be avoided. Proper disposal is key and this should always be remembered.

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