Sunday Mirror columnist Carole Malone has criticised a decision to lift the ban preventing HIV health care staff from performing certain medical procedures.

The Department of Health announced last week the ban would be lifted in England, Wales, and Scotland from April 2014.

Healthcare workers with HIV will be allowed to undertake all procedures if they are on effective combination anti-retroviral drug therapy.

They must also have an undetectable viral load of HIV in their body, and will be regularly monitored.

Northern Ireland’s Health Department is currently consulting on the changes.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said the existing restrictions were outdated.

But writing in the Sunday Mirror, broadcaster and journalist Carole Malone criticised the decision and called into question Dame Sally’s judgement.

“England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies says science has moved on and it’s time to scrap outdated rules and get rid of the stigma of HIV,” Malone said.

“So did the medical profession find a cure for AIDS while we weren’t looking? If not, what’s changed? Why, for two decades, hasn’t it been safe for HIV-infected medics to perform blood-linked procedures? Now suddenly it is. We’re told all HIV-infected people carrying out these procedures will go on a confidential register – which means a secret register. Which means patients won’t know if they’re being operated on or treated by someone with the virus.

“And they SHOULD know. They SHOULD have a choice.”

Malone added: “Isn’t this yet another case of our great NHS ignoring what’s best for the patients and concentrating on what’s best for their staff? Sally Davies says no medic has infected anyone in this country for years. Hasn’t it occurred to her that’s because these safeguards have been in place for years?”