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Former Grimsby hospital worker in hepatitis C scare

By PWhitelam_LE  |  Posted: September 11, 2013

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Officials say a worker at the centre of a major national health scare who unwittingly had hepatitis C once worked at a hospital in Grimsby.

The retired obstetrics and gynaecology worker did not know they had the condition while employed by the NHS across Britain between 1975 and 2003,and infected two women while working in Wales between 1984 and 2003.

The Government says the unidentified medic worked at Grimsby General Hospital between September 3, 1975 and March 6, 1978, now Grimsby's Diana Princess of Wales Hospital.

Dr Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England, said: “We have worked hard to identify women in England who might have been at risk of contracting infection with hepatitis C from this healthcare worker and are contacting them to offer advice and a blood test for hepatitis C, should they wish to have one.

"I want to emphasise that the risk of infection is very small and that we are offering them testing purely as a precaution.

“Around 1 in 250 adults in England have chronic hepatitis C infection and it does not automatically lead to health problems.

"Treatment can help clear the infection in up to 80 per cent of cases, which is why it’s important to identify anyone who may be at risk of having been infected so treatment can be started if necessary.”

Like most people who are infected with hepatitis C, the healthcare worker had no symptoms and was unaware of the infection until after they retired.

As soon as the risk of infection was recognised, and a transmission was confirmed, a process of tracing their work history began.

Since 2007, all healthcare workers who are new to the NHS are tested for hepatitis C by their employing Trust.

Existing NHS healthcare workers performing exposure prone procedures for the first time are also tested for hepatitis C.

Call the helpline on 0800 121 4400 which goes livef from 9am on Thursday, September 12.

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