RCHT is one of three Trusts which have been asked by NHS England to contact patients treated by a doctor who has subsequently been diagnosed as HIV positive. This individual was involved in orthopaedic operations at the Royal Cornwall Hospital for a six month period between 2011 and 2012.
Because the doctor’s diagnosis was unknown during their employment, we are writing to 57 patients offering the opportunity, as a precaution, to return to the hospital for a blood test.
This will be concerning to patients, however, there has not been any instance of cross-infection following similar look back exercises in the UK in the past, despite testing more than 10,000 patients. The risk of the virus having been passed on to any of the individuals we are contacting is extremely low.
It is important to emphasise that this recall only affects those patients to whom we are sending letters today (2nd May). Other patients having orthopaedic procedures during 2011 and 2012, or at any other time, do not have cause for concern.
We have set up a helpline – 01872 252200 – for anyone who may wish to seek reassurance. The helpline will be open until 8pm today (Tuesday 2nd May) and then weekdays from 9am to 5pm.
Information on HIV can be found here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/HIV/Pages/Introduction.aspx