December 1999 No 21

Current Scotland inUNISON | Back Issues | Communications Index
A happy festive season, and a peaceful millennium

Needlestick injuries - what price is a life?

Lothian Initial workers to return to NHS Update on Website version of SiU only.

story2Local democracy demands local funding control

Pay justice for local government staff

Health talks due as action ballot suspended

Action to protect health staff from extremists (pic)

President: Let's get our own systems right (pic)

Womens STUC: making it happen 

Fight on to save Glasgow maternity units

Help needed now to win debt campaign 

New education initiative unlocks NHS staff potential

Equalities minifesto steps up pressure on Scottish Parliament

Keeping lay control 

Scotland's key role at National Lesbian & Gay Conference

Calling Area Nurse Bank members

Courses January to April 2000

Round The Mags What's in the branch magazines?

Lobby against expulsion

We want to hear your news






Needlestick injuries - what price is a life?

Members who read our sister publication - Focus - will have noticed the launch of a UK-wide campaign for the introduction of syringes with retractable needles.

What they will not pick up from that article is that the campaign actually started in Scotland back in the summer when the Scottish Health Committee identified it as a priority issue. Since then a regular stream of stories in the Scottish press has kept the campaign in front of the public.
Jim Devine, Scotland's Senior Regional Officer for Health, says:

"The introduction of safe syringes would go a long way to saving lives, avoiding preventable disease and therefore reducing the cost to the NHS of around £5.5m annually."

"The 16p or 17p extra that safe syringes cost compared with the older ones are a necessary investment for Scotland's Health Service. Who can or should put a price on human life?"

"Staff infected by this method can suffer from such diseases as tetanus, hepatitis and can contract HIV"
20,000 at risk.

UNISON estimates that around 20,000 health workers in Scotland are at risk, across all disciplines, especially, domestics, porters and laundry workers.

A number of pilot schemes have been run in Scotland and we await the report of these and the hospitals response from the Scottish Executive. Until then the campaign will continue with approaches to the Scottish Parliament's Health Committee and, of course, the welcome extension of the campaign to UK level.

The Scottish Communications and Campaigns Committee, at its last meeting congratulated the Health Committee on their campaign and agreed to raise it with other service groups (especially Local Government and Higher Education) where the risk of needlestick injuries is also present.

Needles - Safety at Work is a new A4 poster/leaflet produced nationally. Get your branch to order stocks - (no 1705).

(See national story in UNISONFocus 116, 26/11/99, p3).

* Lynda Arnold is an American nurse who contracted HIV after a needlestick injury whilst injecting an AIDS patient.

She recently came to Scotland to give her support to UNISON's campaign for safer syringes. At a press conference organised by UNISON she told how, after the injection, the needle slipped, went through her glove and into her hand. She said:

"The same thing could happen to someone in Scotland. The only way for it to be avoided is for all hospitals to use retractable syringes as standard."




Local democracy demands local funding control

UNISONScotland has issued a strong call for the Scottish Executive to change course in their approach to Scotland's local authorities.

The union has responded to the Scottish Executive's consu