Needle destruction system prevents accidental jabbing of healthcare workers

Image credit: needlesmart

A ‘needle destruction system’ has been designed that reduces the risk of healthcare professionals accidentally jabbing themselves with a potentially harmful used needle.

A recent survey found that the vast majority (94 per cent) of practising surgeons in the UK have either been personally affected by a needlestick injury (NSI) or have seen a colleague experience one.

The Royal College of Nursing also reported last year that the pressures of the pandemic and lack of training accounted for a 50 per cent rise in sharps injuries.

While the risk of infection following an NSI is low, the risks of contaminating HIV, hepatitis or another bloodborne illness are still concerning.

To tackle the issue, UK firm NeedleSmart has designed an end-to-end vaccination and safe needle destruction system aimed at reducing the 100,000 NSIs experienced by NHS workers in the UK each year.

As well as destroying the hypodermic needle, it also provides a full audit trail of each needle, charting the journey from its initial deployment, through to its assignment to healthcare staff, injection to patient, and ultimately its safe destruction.

The Pro device destroys the contaminated needle in a sealed chamber in around six seconds, effectively minimising post-procedural NSI.


Image credit: needlesmart

The NeedleSmart device heats any needle inserted into the chamber to 1,300°C, which will kill potential harmful pathogens, viruses and bacteria adhering to it. The needle is then compressed into a tiny ball (pictured) and released from the device as a safe sphere of metal at the tip of the syringe.

NSIs are estimated to cost each NHS trust approximately £500,000 each year, or £127m across England. It also has impacts on staff absenteeism, the cost of bringing in replacement staff and legal litigation to NHS trusts.

NeedleSmart have recently achieved FDA approval as a Class II medical device, which means it could be used in the US as well in future.

NeedleSmart CEO Cliff Kirby said: “There is a massive issue for the NHS around the safety of healthcare staff.

“The wider implications of NSI include the costs of medical treatment for the injured healthcare worker, the costs of substitute staff and costly litigation, all while the NHS is under immense pressure dealing with the pandemic.”

Last week, researchers unveiled a smart sensor designed to be placed inside a face mask that can sense the user’s real-time respiration rate, heart rate and mask-wear time, and may also be able to measure the fit of the mask.

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