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Percutaneous venepuncture practice in a large urban teaching hospital

, : Percutaneous venepuncture practice in a large urban teaching hospital. Clinical Medicine 7(3): 243-249

Occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens remains an important and largely preventable issue in hospital practice. This article argues that formal training can increase use of best practice phlebotomy. A survey of at-risk healthcare workers at a central London hospital was conducted to identify factors associated with use of an evacuated blood collection system (BD Vacutainer (R)) and gloves while taking blood. Eighty per cent of doctors and 37% of non-doctors performing percutaneous venepuncture did not use the Vacutainer system exclusively. Doctors qualified less than three years were particularly likely to prefer needle and syringe. Venepuncture technique training significantly increased the probability of always using the Vacutainer system from 7% to 46%. The only factor independently associated with glove use was operator experience. There is considerable room for improvement in phlebotomy technique, particularly among junior doctors. The Modernising Medical Careers initiative provides a unique opportunity to implement this.


PMID: 17633944

DOI: 10.7861/clinmedicine.7-3-243

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