Our duty on hep B immunisation
Dr Christine Dewbury (Features, January 26) puts the onus for viral screening of medical students on to medical schools as an occupational health issue. But many
at-risk patients have jobs that do not have a staff health service or access to an occupational health system.
Some time ago I trawled through our practice computer records for all doctors, dentists, nurses, policemen, firemen, paramedics, undertakers, nursing homes and rest home care workers, first-aiders, prostitutes, homosexuals and so on – any one whose occupation or behaviour might expose them to body fluids. All were offered hepatitis B immunisation.
As new patients are given their new patient checks their occupation is noted and they are offered an initial hepatitis B immunisation course if it is indicated.
Periodic hepatitis B status blood checks can be done on those previously immunised. I perceive that as soon as I know their occupation or risk then I owe them a duty of care to offer hepatitis B immunisation.
Many of our patients are taking potential risks but there is no occupational health service to help protect them. I perceive this omission can be filled by well-trained nurses in general practice and initiated during screening sessions.
Clinical Nurse Specialist