Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. DoH sets guides for health checks on all new NHS staffOn 1 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today OH nurses to carry out pre-employment checksOccupational health nurses will be required to carry out pre-employmenthealth checks on all new NHS healthcare staff to check for communicablediseases, under measures announced by the Department of Health. All NHS staff whose jobs involve exposure-prone procedures (EPPs) – wherethere is a risk that injury to the worker could expose a patient to their blood– will have to test negative for HIV and hepatitis B and C before taking uptheir posts. Under current guidelines, OH departments only need to carry out such checkswithin two weeks of staff starting work, which can often result in employeesslipping through the net. Some trusts check as few as 30 per cent of theirworkers. The move has led to fears that some OH units may see a sharp increase inworkload due to the change. For the first time, all other healthcare workers, even those not involved inEPPs, will also have to be offered testing for hepatitis C and HIV. All new NHSworkers should already be tested for hepatitis B and tuberculosis, the DoHsaid. The Government’s focus on this issue has been heightened by the fact thatincreasing numbers of NHS staff are being drafted in from overseas, sometimesfrom areas where such diseases are commonplace. Pat Troop, deputy chief medical officer, said the UK already had ‘rigorous’measures in place to ensure patients were not put at risk of serious infectionfrom healthcare staff, and the new measures would strengthen these furtherstill. “The measures will help healthcare workers by giving them access totests for these serious infections when they apply to the NHS, and immunisationor treatment if needed,” she said. Pam Dukes, OH service manager for Camden and Islington Hospitals NHS Trust,said for some hospitals, the new measures would simply mean a formalisation ofexisting practices. At Camden and Islington, new staff are only allowed to sign on withpersonnel once they obtain a form confirming they have been checked by the OHdepartment. But other OH departments might be caught out. She said the checks were designed as much to protect healthcare workers aspatients. “The only way we can protect them is if we know how vulnerable theyare,” she said. www.doh.gov.uk/healthclear Related posts:No related photos.