UK Ponders Mandatory HIV
Tests For New Docs, Nurses


LONDON (Reuters) - The government is considering carrying out HIV tests on all new doctors and nurses joining its NHS, a newspaper has reported.
The Sunday Telegraph said the move was prompted by the discovery of 10 HIV-positive nurses working for the NHS who were recruited from South Africa, which has one of the world's highest levels of HIV.
It quoted an unnamed Department of Health official as saying: "We will hold a consultation on proposals for HIV testing for all new health workers in the New Year."
The NHS is heavily dependent on foreign recruits, especially from Africa, Asia and Australia, to staff its hospitals and other health centers.
But the paper said all newly registered medical staff would be tested--including British-born staff--to eliminate charges of discrimination.
Health workers found to be HIV-positive would not necessarily be barred from working in the NHS, but would be restricted to certain types of work, the paper said.
Britain is expected to recruit many thousands more doctors and nurses from overseas in future years to fill ambitious recruitment plans for an improved NHS promised by Prime Minister Tony Blair's government
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