The proposed guidelines allow health practitioners infected with a blood-borne virus to practise their profession if they comply with guidelines set out by the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA). However, they may have to modify their practice and may be prevented from performing certain procedures.
The CDNA guidelines – the Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Health Care Workers known to be infected with blood-borne viruses – are endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council.
Speaking on behalf of the National Boards, which includes the Optometry Board, Dr. Joanne Flynn said the aim of the draft guidelines was to give practitioners information about their responsibilities and about how a National Board is likely to manage a notification about a practitioner who is infected with a blood-borne virus.
“We recognise there may be a lot of debate about this issue and we are keen to hear what the community, practitioners, health experts and others have to say,” Dr. Flynn said.
The draft policy and a consultation paper have been published online: http://www.ahpra.gov.au/News/Consultations.aspx#public
Consultation is open until 26 September 2014.