§ Laura Moffatt
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the introduction of safer devices to reduce the risk of needlestick injury in the NHS. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The Department is currently carrying out work on the production of guidance on health, safety and welfare issues for national health service staff. The Medical Devices Agency has also issued guidelines for the safer use of needles and sharps.
We are working closely with colleagues from the Unions, Royal Colleges, Safer Needles Network and manufacturers and expect to launch new web based guidance in the spring of 2004.
Both the Health and Safety Executive and the Department are advising NHS Trusts to carry out risk assessments in areas of high risk and to introduce into these areas "safer" devices, which they can then evaluate in use.
The Department is also working closely with colleagues in the Health and Safety Executive, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency, to identify further action that can be taken on this issue.