Healthcare workers infected with bloodborne viruses have had new guidance published by Public Health England.
Affected members of the dental team will now be able to perform a wider range of non-exposure prone procedures, under the new guidance.
Previous to this members of the dental team infected with bloodborne viruses were restricted to working on edentulous patients, however this ban has now been lifted and replaced with regular testing and registration, along with Public Health England now also developing a risk-based categorisation of exposure-prone procedures.
‘Huge step forward’
‘Dental Protection has actively lobbied on this issue for over 10 years,’ Kevin Lewis, dental director at Dental Protection, said.
‘The ability of oral healthcare professionals to continue with a dental career in the event that they are diagnosed as HIV-positive is a huge step forward, and a welcome example of science and the evidence-base overcoming ill-informed concerns and prejudices.
‘Once on the Department of Health register, and as long as medical supervision is followed and standard infection control precautions are taken, the majority of normal dental procedures pose no risk of transmission of bloodborne viruses from an infected clinician to a patient.
‘We will continue to work with the Department of Health and other agencies to monitor the evidence base that gave them the confidence to bring about a change.
‘As an international organisation, we would like to see other nations, who look to the UK for a lead, align their own policies on this subject.’