Shaping better health
REMEDY : BNSSG referral pathways & Joint Formulary

Needlestick injury - DRAFT

Checked: 13-01-2023 by Rob.Adams Next Review: not set yet


Sharps injuries are a well-known risk in the health and social care sector. Sharps contaminated with an infected patient's blood can transmit more than 20 diseases, including hepatitis B, C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Because of this transmission risk, sharps injuries can cause worry and stress to the many thousands who receive them.(1)

NHS advice

Patients presenting to GP practices or other primary care facilities should be managed as follows:

1. Following a sharps injury - patients or staff should immediately be directed to NHS advice on first aid managment (2):

What should I do if I injure myself with a used needle? - NHS (

2. Establish the risk of the injury - has the sharp been contaminated with another persons blood and is that person know to have any Blood Bourne Virus infections.

3. If the sharp has been contaminated with blood from a patient with known HIV or a person at risk of having HIV then refer the patient directly to the nearest Emergency Department for consideration of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV.

4. If the affected sharp is from a source where infection risk is unknown, then arrange for blood to be drawn from both the source person (if possible and with their informed consent) and the person who has sustained the needlestick. Blood for Blood Bourne Viruses (BBV) - HIV, Hepatis B and C - should be taken.







(1) Heath and social care services - Sharps injuries (

(2) What should I do if I injure myself with a used needle? - NHS (

(3) Blood-borne viruses: protection of health care workers - GOV.UK (