HC Deb 02 June 1992 vol 208 c452W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration she has given to the guidelines concerning HIV infection following the infection of a surgeon at the Liverpool royal teaching hospital; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville

The United Kingdom health departments issued occupational guidance for health care workers in 1988. Revised guidelines "AIDS-HIV Infected Health Care Workers" containing recommendations of the Expert Advisory Group on AIDS were issued in December 1991. A copy is available in the Library. An advisory panel, chaired by Dame Mary Donaldson has been set up to provide advice in individual cases.

The guidance states that health care workers who know or suspect that they have been exposed to HIV infection must seek occupational advice and an HIV test if appropriate, and that those with HIV infection should not perform invasive surgical procedures.

The guidance also states that in certain circumstances health authorities and NHS trusts may consider it appropriate to notify patients who have undergone invasive procedures by a health care worker subsequently found to be infected with HIV.

In the recent case in Liverpool, the guidelines were followed. The surgeon concerned ceased work when HIV infection was suspected, and the health authority and hospital considered it appropriate to contact patients to offer reassurance, and HIV antibody tests if required. The guidelines are kept under review to reflect developing knowledge of HIV infection.

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