[PDF] Needlestick Working Party Report

Association of Anaesthetists
Association of Anaesthetists
Publication date:
22 October 2010


The Council of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland (AAGBI) established a Working Party on Needlestick Injuries in December 2007. The Working Party considered the testing of patients for Blood Borne Viruses (BBV) after needlestick and other occupational injuries in the light of legislative change (Human Tissue Act 2004 [HTA] and Mental Capacity Act 2005 [MCA]), and the withdrawal of previous guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC). After some discussion, the following possible changes were agreed, roughly in order of most to least restrictive, and possibly in ascending order of likely public acceptability:

  • Blanket testing of all patients
  • Testing of all patients who become the source of a needlestick/infective injury
  • ‘Presumed Consent’ for testing unless prior evidence of objection.
  • The previous status quo, i.e. testing only after an individual risk/benefit analysis (to include psychological as well as physical risk).
  • Testing with the consent of next of kin.
  • No testing without specific consent from the patient.