European Hospital & Healthcare Employers’ Association

HOSPEEM response to the first stage of consultation of the social partners on protecting European healthcare workers from blood-borne infections due to needlestick injuries

The Issue

The European Commission has launched a first stage consultation of the European Social Partners (according to article 138 of the EC Treaty) on protecting European healthcare workers from blood-borne infections due to needlestick injuries. The consultation follows the adoption on 6th of July by the European Parliament of a resolution (hereby “the EP Resolution”) that calls the Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2005/54/EC.

The questions that the Commission is asking are:

  1. Do you consider it useful to take an initiative to strengthen the protection of European healthcare workers from blood-borne infections due to needlestick injuries?
  2. Do you think that a joint initiative by the European Social Partners under Article 139 of the Treaty establishing the European Community would be appropriate?

Position Statement

Needlestick injuries, whilst stressful and with the potential for transmission of a blood-borne infections to staff, are not a major cause of incidents in the healthcare sector in Europe. HOSPEEM members believe that there is sufficient legislation, at European and, consequently, national level, to manage and control the incidence of needlestick injuries, provided that legislation is followed.

Effective management of needlestick injuries requires proper risk assessment, effective and regular training and updates and the provision, in those areas identified by risk assessment as being the most at risk, of safer devices that, if properly used, will reduce the transmission of blood-borne infections. It is not necessary, in areas identified as having little or no risk of transmitting bloodborne infection, to introduce more expensive safer devices.

HOSPEEM supports the principle of subsidiarity in this field. It is the responsibility of Member States to determine the details of regulations the framework of which has been set at European level. This is the approach, for instance, taken by Directive 200/54/EC. HOSPEEM would like this approach to be respected.

FULL TEXT: Response to the first stage of consultation of the social partners on protecting European healthcare workers from blood-borne infections due to needlestick injuries