Blood borne virus guidelines for health professionals

The ‘Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Healthcare Workers Living with Blood Borne Viruses and Healthcare Workers who Perform Exposure Prone Procedures at Risk of Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses’ have been updated and can be viewed on the Commonwealth Department of Health website.

These national guidelines were endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council in June 2018 and released in December 2018, and are viewed as a professional standard by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA).

The guidelines are in two parts:
Part A provides information and recommendations for all healthcare workers, in particular:

  • healthcare workers who perform exposure prone procedures

  • healthcare workers living with a blood borne virus, and

  • doctors treating healthcare workers with a blood borne virus.

Part B provides information and recommendations for public health authorities including, but not limited to, hospitals and jurisdictional health departments, when managing or investigating a situation where a healthcare worker with a blood borne virus was not compliant with these guidelines and/or may have placed a patient(s) at risk of infection.

The guidelines apply to all healthcare workers who may carry out exposure prone procedures, including, dentists, dental therapists/hygienists, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses and paramedics.

SA Health has developed Implementation guidelines for South Australia (PDF 90KB) to provide a framework for implementation of the guidelines across all health services in the state, both in the public and private sector including healthcare facilities and individual practices.

These guidelines permit many healthcare workers living with a blood borne virus infection to undertake exposure prone procedures, as long as they comply with treatment requirements and outcomes detailed in the guidelines.

Resources and useful links

The guidelines and additional information are available on the Commonwealth Department of Health website.

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