8383 people identified as being at risk of hepatitis C due to a health worker being infected with the virus

8383 patients are being contacted because they may have been treated by a former healthcare worker who was diagnosed with hepatitis C in January 2008. 

The healthcare worker worked for NHS Lanarkshire between 1982 and 2008, primarily at Wishaw General Hospital and the former Law Hospital. 7311 patients from Lanarkshire – along with almost a thousand patients from elsewhere in Scotland and the United Kingdom – are receiving letters informing them of the situation and advising that they arrange an appointment for a blood test.

The healthcare worker also worked at the William Harvey Hospital in East Kent between January and April 2006. East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has written to 46 patients in relation to this. 

Before 1982, the healthcare worker worked in England. Relevant hospital trusts are being contacted to establish whether records are available to identify patients were treated by the healthcare worker in this period. Anyone who is identified from this period will also be contacted and invited for testing.

The healthcare worker was diagnosed with hepatitis C in January 2008 and immediately stopped carrying out surgical procedures and did not return to clinical practice. Based on the evidence available at the time, the UK Advisory Panel advised against notifying patients. 

However, in 2015, a patient was referred to treatment for hepatitis C who had had a surgical procedure carried out by the healthcare worker. Subsequently, another patient in Lanarkshire was identified as having probably been infected during a procedure carried out by the healthcare worker. Following a detailed investigation, the UK Advisory Panel endorsed NHS Lanarkshire’s proposal to notify patients of this situation.

Prof David Goldberg, a Consultant Clinical Epidemiologist for Health Protection Scotland, said: “Although the risk of infection is low we are recommending that people take up the offer of a blood test to ensure anyone who dos have the virus can receive the right treatment.”

There is a free helpline for members of the public in Scotland who have questions or concerns on 0800 028 2816. 

Scottish helplines will be open from 8am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday, until 17 March 2016. 

Anybody can always phone out helpline on 0845 223 4424 or 020 7089 6221

Open 10.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday 

Our Helpline is staffed solely by people with hepatitis C, some of whom have been through/or are currently undergoing treatment.