The Forum for Injection Technique (FIT) has recently won two awards for their collaborative initiative ‘FIT4Safety – Injection Safety in UK and Ireland’, which includes the formulation and publication of the widely praised Safety of Sharps in Diabetes Recommendations (1st Edition).
FIT4Safety and the recommendations were developed to protect healthcare workers and patients from the risks of diabetes related sharps injuries, which are a serious occupational hazard faced by healthcare workers.
The British Journal of Nursing Awards presented FIT with an Infection Prevention award. The awards are recognised as highly credible and a source of acknowledgment for the best practice of nursing standards in the UK. The second award won for infection prevention was the Kimberly-Clark 2013 HAI Watchdog Award, given to reward individuals and teams who are championing infection prevention in UK hospitals. FIT4Safety was awarded the highest accolade – the Clinician’s Choice Award.
Pictured (l-r): Debbie Hicks, Debra Adams, Su Down
Dr. Debra Adams, Head of Infection Prevention and Control (Midland and East) at NHS Trust Development Authority, and member of the FIT4Safety Board comments: “We are thrilled that our efforts to improve infection prevention and control have been recognised. Sharps injuries are often seen as an occupational hazard, but all those that come into contact with sharps, from clinicians to downstream workers, deserve appropriate education and procedures to prevent them. The desire to promote best practice is what drives FIT forward, and winning awards that highlight FIT’s contribution has made FIT’s hard work all the more worthwhile.”
The FIT4Safety Recommendations were developed for the UK and Ireland to help protect healthcare workers and patients at risk of injuries by medical sharps. The recommendations have played an important role in raising awareness and preparing the UK and Ireland for the Sharps Instruments in Healthcare Regulations 2013 that were incorporated into national law in May.
The Regulations were a result of the EU Directive on sharps injury prevention and aim to combat the estimated one million sharps injuries occurring each year within the EU, despite 60-80% of incidents being unreported. A report by public services law firm Bevan Brittan has estimated that in the UK, sharps injuries cost each NHS Trust £500,000 per year. Contact with sharps, such as syringes, intravenous catheters, and needles, can pose a serious threat and may result in the transmission of an infection from dangerous blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Diabetes related injections can be associated with up to 30% of such injuries.
Independent studies have shown that training, safer working practices and the use of safety engineered devices can prevent 80% of sharps injuries. FIT4Safety has been working to provide resources for the UK and Ireland and the judges of the awards were impressed with how the team took the initiative to deliver such a beneficial campaign.
The FIT4Safety Recommendations help to inform all healthcare workers and employers about how to prevent and report sharps injuries which, in turn, encourages adherence to the new Sharps Instruments in Healthcare Regulations 2013. They facilitate opportunities in which best practice can be discussed, developed, implemented and evaluated. The recommendations promote a ‘safety culture’, best practice injection technique and the use of safety devices. The FIT board believes that these efforts to educate, inform, and raise awareness will dramatically reduce diabetes associated sharps injuries.
The FIT4Safety Board comprises two experienced diabetes specialist nurses and an infection prevention and control nurse:
- Debbie Hicks, Nurse Consultant – Diabetes Enfield Community Services, BEH-MHT (FIT Chair)
- Su Down, Nurse Consultant – Diabetes Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- Dr Debra Adams, Head of Infection Prevention and Control (Midlands and East), NHS Trust Development Authority
FIT is supported via an unrestricted educational grant by medical technology company BD and both are committed to promoting injection technique best practice.