05:29 pm, Tuesday 4 May, 2010
Nurses are urging the government to allocate more funding to prevent needlestick injuries, claiming that their lives are being endangered due to the lack of action over the issue.
According to the Australian Nurses Federation (ANF), over 18,000 injuries because of syringes or other sharp items are reported nationwide every year.
ANF says nurses who sustain needlestick injuries are vulnerable to blood-bourne diseases including hepatitis B and C, and HIV/AIDS.
It wants the Federal Government to earmark $50 million on a project intended to minimise risk. ANF federal secretary Ged Kearney says state and federal governments should fund an education campaign and introduce safer needles.
“There are devices out there whereby once you have injected a patient and you remove the needle from the patient, the needle or the sharp bit actually retracts back into the needle itself,” she said.
“Most of the injuries occur when nurses prick themselves while disposing of needles or doing the dangerous task of recapping.
“We don’t mind that we invest in fire safety outfits for firemen. Nobody questions buying bullet proof vests for policemen if they have to go into dangerous situations. So why are we not using these devices to protect nurses and other health care workers?”