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Needlestick proceedure legality 'needs clarity'

Anaesthetists are calling for greater clarity on the legal implications of testing incapacitated patients for blood-borne viruses, after a survey found this was often done following staff needlestick injuries.

The anonymous survey of 99 intensive care units in England, Wales and Northern Ireland showed 63 per cent had recorded an incident where a member of staff had suffered a needlestick injury while caring for an incapacitated patient in the past 12 months.

Around half of the 62 patients were tested at the time of the injury and 10 had a blood-borne virus.

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