HIV-Positive U.K. Health Worker Files Suit to Keep Health Authority From Contacting Former Patients
An HIV-positive employee of Britain's National Health Service is going to court to prevent the NHS from notifying his former patients of his HIV status, BBC News reports. The anonymous health worker, identified only as "H," has filed papers in the High Court to prevent the NHS from notifying "thousands" of people that he has HIV (BBC News, 11/18). Such notification could violate the worker's right to privacy under Britain's 1998 Human Rights Act, as the worker believes his name "is likely to come out" when his former patients are contacted, the Guardian reports. The worker says that in the United Kingdom, nobody who has contracted HIV as a result of being the patient of an HIV-positive health worker. Thus there is no "overwhelming public interest" for the NHS to contact former patients, the worker argues (Meikle, Guardian, 11/19). The U.K. Department of Health, however, pointed to one case of HIV transmission between a dentist and a patient and another transmission incident involving an orthopedic surgeon and a patient in France. The NHS worker was diagnosed with HIV several months ago, but quit working once he learned he had HIV. He does not have any plans to return to his NHS position (BBC News, 11/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.