Participants in an EP public hearing discussed ways to prevent injuries by sharp devices and the re-use of medical devices manufactured for a single use only.
Healthcare workers across the EU are being affected byinjuries caused by needles and other sharp medical devices. Such injuries lead to distress, sickness and absenteeism, or, in the worst of the cases, the transmission of a potentially fatal disease. These injuries are mainly caused by non-compliance with existing EU Worker Safety and Health Directives, particularly as regards better information and education, safety of the workplace and the use of proper protection technology designed for high-risk medical procedures.
Another risk factor is there-use of medical devices that are designed to be used only once. This is a widespread practice in the EU, affecting both patients and healthcare workers. Due to the difficulty of cleaning single-use devices, the re-use of such devices may pose a general risk of infection. Reprocessing a single-use device may also result in the impairment of its performance as it is contrary to the manufacturer’s design. European patients lack information about the potential risks of re-using a single-use medical device.