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"HIV testing/Consenting"

About: St Thomas' Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

In 2017, I attended St.Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH, Emergency Department. 

I attended  Emergency Department (E.D), twice in that year. On both occasions I was tested for HIV, without my consent. On the first occasion. I managed to  stop/cancel, the test whilst it was on it's way to the Laboratory, I noticed, a sign up on the wall warning patients that the Emergency Department, routinely tests for HIV, unless you Opt-Out, this was 45 mins after, my bloods were taken. The second time, I informed the nurse NOT to do a HIV test, within my routine bloods. But she did against my instructions & without my knowledge. 

Over the next year, I had battles with the Hospital Trust. And eventually, I had a number of my recommendations accepted, I also got the Care Quality Commission, involved in it. One of those recommendations, was to have more signage placed up around the E.D. 

To my surprise and shock. When I attended the E.D, in April of this year 2021. There was NO signs, informing patients that routine HIV testing  takes place, in the Emergency Department. Back in 2017, there was some signage, around this area. And there was a commitment, by the Hospital Trust, in 2018, to increase coverage of signage, within the whole Department. The only sign I saw, was in my patient bay, and that sign was on it's side, against a wall with a computer terminal partially obscuring it.  
Now the Hospital Trust, says it uses Best Practice, when testing for HIV. 
British HIV Association BHIVA/BA, states in its testing guidelines 2020. "unambiguous communication should be used when establishing opt-out testing in any setting to ensure that both patients and staff understand what is meant by the term opt-out". 

Also, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. Testing For HIV In Emergency Department (Revised December 2020), States "Emergency Department "Opt out mechanisms informing patients with leaflets and signposting on their attendance to ED. 

Does this Hospital Trust, Emergency Department. Ever learn lessons ? Take seriously patient concerns ?

I also notice on Care Opinion, that I am not the only patient, that had problems, with St. Thomas' Hospital, HIV testing regime !

A patient has the legal right to be fully consented before an HIV test has taken place (Informed Consent) And this should always have an opportunity for the patient to decline the test. verbal consent, is always needed to be seek by the person, carrying out the test. Be it a clinician/nurse or other health care professional 

Patients have the right to autonomy !

For anyone that is concerned, like me. I have had an Advance Decision Statement (Living Will) placed on my E.D records, with a red-flag (alert) not to test for HIV, at St. Thomas' Hospital, London. 

If you encounter, any problems, please, refer to this article. 

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