Universal precautions — do Irish anaesthetists comply?

  • N. O’Rourke
  • M. Bennett
  • J. Porter
  • D. J. Gallagher
  • G. Shorten
Original Paper



Anaesthetists are at high risk from blood-borne pathogens. Universal Precautions (UP) include the routine use of appropriate barrier precautions and techniques to reduce the likelihood of exposure to blood, body fluids and tissues that may contain pathogens. The compliance of Irish anaesthetists with these precautions has not been studied.


To study the attitudes of Irish anaesthetists to Universal Precautions.


A postal questionnaire was sent to 210 anaesthetists currently practising in Ireland. The questionnaire was based on a model used in Australia and New Zealand.


There was a 50% response rate to the survey. Only 15% of respondents had taken a risk history from a patient in the preceding four weeks. Resheathing of needles was commonplace. The effectiveness of hepatitis B immunisation was rarely checked and only 66% of respondents believe implementation of Universal Precautions to be practical.


Irish anaesthetists comply poorly with Universal Precautions.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Irish Journal Personal Protection Universal Precaution Needlestick Injury 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. O’Rourke
    • 3
  • M. Bennett
    • 1
    • 3
  • J. Porter
    • 3
  • D. J. Gallagher
    • 2
    • 3
  • G. Shorten
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MedicineCork University HospitalCork
  2. 2.Department of Occupational MedicineCork University HospitalCork
  3. 3.Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care MedicineCork University HospitalCorkIreland

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