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Surgeons’ plea to knives manufacturers

Physicians are calling for kitchen knives to be re-designed to have rounded tips rather than points, particularly for long knives. A co-signed letter was sent to all members of the home affairs select committee on Tuesday (February 12), appealing for the government to consider the issue, and work with the housewares industry.

John Crichton, chairman of the Royal College of Psychiatry in Scotland, Duncan Bew, consultant trauma and acute care surgeon, King’s College Hospital, London, Martin Griffiths, consultant vascular and trauma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, and Nic Madge, former circuit judge wrote the letter of appeal. They also sent a letter to The Times newspaper and Duncan Bew spoke out on the issue on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme (also on Tuesday).

Above: An image of the former Prestige range called Pointless Knives.
Above: An image of the former Prestige range called Pointless Knives.

In the letter to The Times, the medical experts stated: ‘Our collective experience is that the vast majority of injuries are caused by kitchen knives. Every kitchen contains potential murder weapons.’

The group asks: ‘Do we need long kitchen knives with points? How often does a domestic chef use the point of a ten-inch knife?’

The letter also emphasises that: “It is the points that cause penetrative, life-threatening injuries.’ It suggests a collaborative approach between the government and the housewares industry, asking: ‘Could not the government, manufacturers ad retailers act together to reduce the sale of long pointed knives and provide alternatives with rounded ends?’

It also suggests a disincentive to buying kitchen knives with points: ‘Why not charge £5 more for long pointed knives?’

Concluding the letter, the physicians and judge acknowledge: ‘There is no single, simple solution to this complex issue, but anything that reduces the number of life-threatening injuries must be explored.’ asks knives suppliers and retailers to air their views on the issue of re-designing, manufacturing and selling knives without points. To share your comments, please email

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