The Medical Schools Council, the Dental Schools Council
, the Association of UK University Hospitals
and the Higher Education Occupational Physicians Group
published guidance on blood-borne viruses. The guidance is intended for use by medical and dental schools, medical and dental students, occupational health services and health provider organisations.
This is an extremely important document to read, particularly if you are a carrier of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV or Tuberculosis. Being a carrier of a blood-borne virus means you could pass on the virus to someone else. For this reason, students would be subject to restricted practice and unable to engage in exposure-prone procedures (EPPs). EPPs are invasive procedures where there is a risk that injury to the worker may result in the exposure of the patient’s open tissues to the blood of the worker. Although it is not essential in order to qualify as a doctor, many medical students may wish to participate in EPPs during their training.
In order to protect patients, the Department of Health requires any students carrying out these procedures be clear of infection from Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis and HIV. Voluntary screening will be undertaken by the school’s Occupational Health service and without this clearance students will be allowed to undergo their training and qualify but will not be able to assist in any EPPs.
In terms of applying to medical school in the UK, being a carrier of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV or Tuberculosis will not affect your chances of being accepted. Health issues are handled separately from the normal admissions process and individual medical schools will advise the applicant when to declare any health issues and on whom they must be declared to.
Prospective students who think they may be at risk of one of these infections should contact the Occupational Health service on 0845 155 8200 as soon as possible for an in-confidence discussion.
Please note that should you be successful in applying to medical school, the inability to perform EPPs would limit the career options in medicine open to you. Staff at your medical school will be able to talk you through your career options and the specialties that are open to you.
This document is available to download: