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Hepatitis B immunisation and hospital doctors

 

Clinical bottom line

Needlestick injuries were high, and reported much more often by immunised doctors. Only one in five doctors were known to be protected by immunisation.


Reference

N Smith et al. An audit of uptake of hepatitis B immunization amongst hospital doctors. International Journal of STD & AIDS 1993 4: 180-181.

Method

A questionnaire survey of all medical staff at an outer London hospital concerning immunisation against hepatitis B. Needlestick injuries over the previous 10 years were also examined.

Results

There were 60 consultants and 180 junior doctors, from whom there were 43 (73%) and 71 (39%) replied. Hepatitis B immunisation take up was not high, with 51% of consultants and 28% of juniors responding not immunised. Of those who were immunised, only about two-thirds knew that they had an adequate antibody response. Only one in five doctors were known to be protected.

Table 1 shows the number of accidents for consultants and junior doctors, according to whether or not they had been immunised. Doctors who were not immunised reported predominantly no or few needlestick accidents. Doctors who were immunised reported more needlestick accidents.

Table 1: Percentage of doctors reporting accidents according to hepatitis B immunisation status

Total number of accidents

Percent reporting accidents

Immunised

Not immunised

Consultants

None

14

64

1-5

43

27

5-10

14

5

More than 10

29

5

Juniors

None

6

55

1-5

51

30

5-10

21

10

More than 10

20

5

Comment

This now rather dated audit highlights several interesting features. Firstly, over a period of 10 years, many consultants and junior doctors suffered a large number of accidents. Secondly, there was much less reporting of accidents in doctors who had not been immunised.

Although there was a high response rate from consultants, the response rate from junior doctors was low.