Research by the Health Protection Agency found more than three quarters of staff who have been put at risk of contracting hepatitis C had not been properly followed up.
Professor Mike Catchpole, Director of the Health Protection Agency’s Centre for Infections, said: “Although the numbers of reported healthcare workers infected with hepatitis C following their injury were few, these cases should never have occurred”.
” We all need to do everything we can to prevent occupational exposure injuries occurring. It is important for healthcare workers to report incidents of occupational exposure”.
“Testing and follow up checks are vital as infections can remain undetected for many years. However, our main aim should be doing everything we can to prevent occupational exposure injuries occurring in the first place”.
“Many incidents of occupational exposure can be prevented if there is proper adherence to standard precautions for the safe handling and disposal of clinical waste”.
No health professionals have contracted HIV through a needlestick injury since 1999.
The Eye of the Needle report is available at www.hpa.org.uk/needle