A hospital has apologised to a woman with HIV after cancelling her surgery twice when it wrongly believed it would then have to deep clean the theatre.
Southmead Hospital in Bristol said it was “truly sorry” after postponing her operations “due to emergency patients in greater need at the time”.
It amended its policy after HIV charity Brigstowe said it was “discriminatory”.
The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, said she felt “dirty, humiliated and angry”.
She said it had made her “embarrassed to be an HIV positive woman” but the outcome was “a step in the right direction, professionals should not discriminate unnecessarily”.
Aled Osborne, from Brigstowe, said the woman had been booked in for routine surgery and had been put “last on the list”.
He said she had asked why her operation had been cancelled for a second time and was told it was because she was HIV positive.
Mr Osborne said she contacted the charity for advice and it decided to take the issue further with North Bristol NHS Trust.
He said the trust’s initial response was that after surgery on patients living with HIV “the theatre required a deeper clean, and being put last on the list would not disrupt further surgeries throughout the course of the day”.
“Last on the list could be classed as discrimination because you’re treating a patient less favourably,” he said.
He said the charity provided up-to-date information and the trust was “really quick to react” and amended its policy.
North Bristol NHS Trust said the “misunderstanding came to light after a patient living with HIV was intentionally scheduled to receive surgery at the end of the day”.
It said: “We are fully supportive of the move to reduce discrimination of HIV.”