Prisons: Blood Diseases

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) prison officers (b) other prison staff contracted a blood-borne virus at work in each year since 2010.

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

Since December 2017 any staff who are potentially exposed to blood and other body fluids are able to call our Body Fluid Exposure and Sharps Injury 24/7 telephone helpline to obtain prompt medical advice. If the employee is advised to attend A&E this signifies that the body fluid exposure is high risk and medical assessment by A&E is required to obtain blood for serum save and to assess suitability for post exposure prophylaxis and/or Hepatitis B injection.

Should Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) be required, the member of staff will call the Body Fluid Exposure and Sharps Injury helpline with details of treatment they have received. Follow up testing for Blood Borne Virus (BBV) is provided for all injured staff to determine if they have contracted a BBV, however, staff are not required to report if they have contracted a blood borne virus at work and the data is therefore it is not possible to report data with any certainty.

If an employee were to contract a Blood Borne Virus from an occupational exposure and had reported this to the Body Fluid Exposure and Sharps Injury helpline (provided by HMPPS’ Occupational Health supplier Optima Health) then HMPPS are required to be made aware under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) with the employees consent. None of these cases have been reported to date.

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