Prison Officers: Vaccination

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 3rd July 2019.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has plans in place to ensure the urgent availability of immunisation against Hepatitis for all prison personnel; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA), all employers must provide (so far as is reasonably practicable) a safe place of work and safe systems of work. This includes HM Prison and Probation Service for public sector prisons, and G4S/Sodexo/Serco for privately managed prisons.HM Prison and Probation Service offers and provides Hepatitis B vaccinations, followed by all required vaccination courses and/or blood tests, to ensure staff are protected at work. These are administered by our Occupational Health supplier, Optima Health, for Prison Officers, First Aid Officers and Operational Support grade staff across public sector prisons in England and Wales. The majority of public sector prisons have received Hepatitis B immunisation clinics in 2019. The remaining establishments will receive their clinics in the next few months. Human resources arrangements in privately managed prisons, including offering and providing Hepatitis B vaccinations, are the responsibility of providers. 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. Staff in public sector prisons 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. Use of blood spillage kits are used by trained individuals only.

Occupational health (OH) intervention in HMPPS 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.

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