Hepatitis: Prisons

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 23rd February 2021.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prisons have machines capable of running diagnostic tests for Hepatitis C on site in England and Wales.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

All 112 prisons in England have access to hepatitis C diagnosis. Local authorities decide which method is utilised to achieve diagnosis. This is usually either a ‘point of care’ antibody test, a dry blood spot test or onsite PCR testing machines. Prisons may also have access to other diagnostic kit such as portable fibroscanners, to assess liver cirrhosis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have offered ‘point of care’ PCR testing machines to every trust leading hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment pathways, including prisons. NHS England and NHS Improvement also offer the option of taking machines into 30 prisons per year as a part of the ‘High Intensity Test & Treat’ programme, to supplement reception screening.

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