Saturday, July 08, 2006

Just a little prick with a needle

There is a report in yesterday's Liberal Democrat News about Liz Lynne MEP meeting a delegation of leaders of European nursing associations in Brussels. It says:
They went to the European Parliament to thank her for her work in trying to achieve EU-wide legislation to cut down on the amount of injuries suffered by healthcare workers while handling needles and other medical sharps.
It is natural to try to do good when you have the power, but I am left wondering why this is a matter for the European Parliament. If there are problems in the NHS why hasn't the British government acted already? Come to that, why does it need legislation at all? What are NHS managers doing about it?

The danger is that the negotiations and compromises needed to produce a law that is acceptable across the EU will take too long, so if there are problems in a particular country they will not be solved.

Years ago, when Neil Kinnock was a commissioner, he was trying to have bull-bars banned from the front of cars across Europe. Look out of the window and you will still see cars still driving round with them on today. If it had been left to Westminster, they could have gone long ago.


Anonymous said...

Bull bars makes sense for the EU given that the same manufacturers will want to sell the same cars across the EU with the same regulations about what goes on them (with the obvious exception of the UK and Ireland). No needle manufacturer however is going to have to change the design of a needle to make it safer - its entirely a matter of how its used.

Jonathan Calder said...

Isn't this a bit corporatist? Manufacturers want a lot of things, but sometimes we have to put the public interest first.