Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
What is a source patient testing?
Sometimes healthcare workers can be exposed to blood or other body fluids while caring for a patient, for example, by injury from a used needle or from a splash of blood or body fluids into their eye or mouth.
If this happens there is a risk of the healthcare worker catching any infections the patient may have. Sometimes the patient could have a serious infection which they or their doctors may not be aware of, for example, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In these circumstances the healthcare worker may need treatment and it is important that this is started quickly.
Why does this affect me?
A healthcare worker who has been looking after you has had an injury caused by a piece of equipment that has some of your blood or body fluid on it or was splashed by your blood.
You were probably not aware that this had happened and it was not your fault.
How can I help?
Because you were the patient being cared for when the injury happened, you are known as the source patient. We will ask if a sample of your blood can be taken for testing.
Would all patients be asked to have this test?
Whenever a patient is the known ‘source’ of such an injury, involving a healthcare worker, they will be asked to have this test. This standard procedure has been advised by the Department of Health.
What will the blood test involve?
A member of your medical team will ask for your written consent to take a sample of your blood. This will be tested in a laboratory to see if you have any blood-borne viruses, for example, either:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
He or she will ask some questions about your health and lifestyle (like those asked at Blood Donation Centres). These give your doctor information about the chances that you may have one of these blood-borne viruses and help to decide if the healthcare worker needs immediate, urgent treatment.
Can I refuse to have the blood test?
You can choose not to give consent for the blood test. Refusing to have the blood test will not affect your treatment or future care in any way.
Will I get to know the results of the test?
Yes. One of your doctors will explain the result of your test.
What happens if my blood test is positive?
If your blood test is positive for one or more of the viruses you will be offered advice and given support. You will then be referred to a specialist doctor who will discuss the best treatment for you. The results of the test will be recorded in your healthcare record and also in the injured healthcare worker’s occupational health notes. Your GP will be told your results (unless you ask for this not to happen).
What happens if my blood test is negative?
If your blood test is negative the results of the test will be recorded in your own healthcare record and in the injured healthcare worker’s occupational health notes. Your GP will be told your results (unless you ask for this not to happen).
Will I have to tell insurance companies that I have had these tests?
No. Insurance companies should not ask if you have had an HIV or Hepatitis B or C test, had counselling in connection with such a test or received a negative test result. Doctors should not reveal this information when writing reports for insurance.
Ask one of your nurses or doctors if you want more information or if there is anything you are unsure about.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please ask your doctor or nurse, or you can contact a member of the hospital Infection Prevention and Control Team.
Infection Prevention and Control Team
Monday – Friday
08.30 – 16.30hrs
Telephone: 01642 383280
Further information is available from
Calls to this number are free from landlines and mobile phones
When it is less urgent than 999 call 111
UK Health Security Agency
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet Reference: PIL1388
Date for Review: 10/08/2025