Surgeons warned they must report sharps injuries

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The majority of surgeons are not reporting injuries they receive from sharp instruments, according to a paper published this month.

In the report in the Annuals of the Royal College of Surgeons England, it was found only a quarter followed proper procedure and reported all of their sharp injuries.

Such injuries include perforations of the skin caused by a needle, scalpel or other sharp object, which put surgeons at risk of blood-borne infections such as HIV.

A third of participants said they did not think it was necessary as they considered the patient to be at a low risk of carrying an infectious virus. A further third said they had no time and almost a quarter simply said they were not concerned.

Emeritus professor Jangu Banatvala, a leading authority on virology, said some surgeons do not fully appreciate the inherent risks and dangers associated with sharps injuries.

"This is an issue that can be addressed at the training stage - awareness and training of the risks of blood-borne infections should start in the undergraduate curriculum and be reinforced from time to time thereafter," he stated.

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