Change gloves after every patient when drawing blood

In October, I went for a health screening conducted by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital at an HDB community area near my home.

The screening required blood to be drawn, and I noticed that the nurse did not change gloves before drawing my blood.

When I asked whether there was a need for a change of gloves, I was told that it was not necessary.

When I later received a follow-up call from the hospital, I asked about the glove-change issue again.

I was told that on account of the venue, which was not air-conditioned, it was quite difficult and uncomfortable for the nurses to constantly change gloves; thus, it was not a requirement for them to do so for every patient during the drawing of blood.

When I researched online about international practices, I found that the guideline was "a pair of well-fitting, clean, disposable latex or latex-free gloves per patient or per procedure".

Are nurses here allowed to not change gloves between patients when drawing blood?

In the light of the recent hepatitis C outbreak, I hope healthcare professionals follow the protocol to change gloves after every patient, to reduce the chance of cross-contamination.

Yeo Heng Ngi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2015, with the headline 'Change gloves after every patient when drawing blood'. Print Edition | Subscribe