Prison Service: Hepatitis

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the risk of Hepatitis C infection for prison staff.

Photo of Phillip Lee Phillip Lee The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Staff receive education and training on safe systems of work, universal precautions, hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment in relation to dealing with body fluids at work which reduces the risk of staff contracting Hepatitis C. Use of blood spillage kits are used by trained individuals only.

There is no preventative vaccine to protect against Hepatitis C therefore post exposure management such as immediate first aid followed by appropriate risk assessment is essential. Occupational health intervention in HMPPS includes provision of a 24 Hour Body Fluid Exposure and Sharps Injury Telephone Helpline which is publicised on the HMPPS intranet. This includes: -

  • Provision of immediate and clinical advice by specialist nurses following suspected and actual blood to blood exposure incidents for staff at all levels via a HMPPS 24/7 telephone advice line.
  • Incidences and assessments are recorded on OH Assist electronic clinical data system which provides an evidence base for any potential investigation for legal/insurance claims.
  • Specialist helpline nurses will arrange follow up blood tests and advise the employee to attend Accident and Emergency for urgent care if the blood exposure is high risk and significant.

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