Blood: Viral Diseases

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 13th May 2019.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Conservative, Worthing West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of trialling opt-out testing for (a) hepatitis C, (b) HIV and (c) other blood-borne viruses in emergency care settings.

Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS England specialised commissioning does not run a national programme of opt-out screening within emergency care settings. NHS England is aware of some hospital trusts that have implemented an opt-out screening protocol within emergency care settings, but this is not routine practice in all hospitals. Where opt-out is implemented there are posters on display advising patients, attending the emergency department, that they will be tested unless they tell their attending clinician that they want to opt-out and do not wish to be tested.

Opportunistic testing for blood-borne diseases may also occur in non-traditional healthcare settings frequently used by people who inject drugs (or used to), such as doctors’ surgeries, community pharmacies, prisons and sexual health centres.

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