HIV-positive health staff barred from invasive work: Guidelines place onus on the individual to protect patients. Rosie Waterhouse reports

DOCTORS, nurses and other healthcare workers who are infected with the HIV virus that causes Aids must not perform any 'invasive' medical procedures that would carry a remote risk of exposing patients to the virus, under stringent guidelines set out by the Department of Health yesterday.

The new rules bar all HIV-infected dentists and surgeons from performing their normal duties. They must do only 'non-invasive' work and can seek advice on redeployment or retraining.

The announcement met a muted response from professional groups. The British Dental Association said: 'We have no alternative but to abide by the department's guidelines. We will have to live with them.' The Royal College of Surgeons said: 'The guidance reinforces our own statement that surgeons who are HIV- infected should not continue to carry out major surgery.'

The new guidelines also force GPs and occupational physicians to breach patient confidentiality in some circumstances. If they are treating an HIV-infected healthcare worker who they know is still performing 'exposure-prone invasive procedures', they must report the patient to his or her employer and to their regulatory authority. This is, in effect, instructing doctors to break the Hippocratic Oath.

Rejecting compulsory testing of all healthcare workers at risk of contracting HIV, the guidelines make clear the onus of responsibility for protecting the public lies with the worker.

In the light of a recent spate of publicity in which several infected doctors were named, the guidelines also attempt to keep confidential the identity of any infected worker. The health authorities will have a duty to notify patients and offer them HIV tests if it emerges that they have had invasive treatment from an infected worker. But the name of the infected individual must not be released to the public or media, without their consent, other than in 'very exceptional circumstances'. The fact that a person may have died or have already been named does not alter this rule. Anyone who reveals the name of an infected worker may have to justify that decision before the General Medical Council or other regulatory body.

The department also announced that a study would collate evidence from the United States and the Public Health Service Laboratory of patients who had had invasive treatment from an infected health worker. Dr Gwyneth Lewis, principal medical officer, said of 8,000 people tested in the UK after incidents came to light, none had been infected with the virus.

A spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing said: 'Employees with HIV will only co-operate if they know they will be supported by their employer and be protected from media hounding.'

The guidelines also state: 'Those who believe they may have been exposed to infection with HIV in their personal life or during the course of their work must seek medical advice and, if appropriate, diagnostic HIV testing.'

Government funding of the leading Aids charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust, is to be reduced by two- thirds. The charity said yesterday that it faced a cut in grant from pounds 450,000 to pounds 150,000 - equal to 10 per cent of its budget - over the next three years, yet it was assisting an increasing number of people.

Nick Partridge, chief executive of the trust, criticised the move. 'We now face the immensely difficult task of maintaining our vital services with progressively less support from the Government.

'This news comes just three days after the preliminary results of the AZT drug trial, which highlighted the absence of effective drugs for people who are currently well and living with HIV, sadly confirming the continued need for our services for many years to come,' he said.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
News
people
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Nurse

£40 per day: Randstad Education Manchester: Nursery Nurse needed in salfordI a...

Nursery Nurse

£25 per day: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery nurse needed in th...

Supply Teaching jobs in Thetford

£21588 - £31566 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

KS1 teachers needed in Peterborough

£110 - £125 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are ur...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape