Hepatitis C line deals with hundreds of Caerphilly calls
12:38pm Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
CALLS to a hepatitis C helpline for women in Gwent who may have been inadvertently exposed to the virus through a now retired healthcare worker, have topped 1,800.
Around 5,000 women in the Aneurin Bevan Health Board area are being contacted by letter with the offer of a blood test for hepatitis C after it was revealed last week that a healthcare worker involved in major surgical procedures at Caerphilly District Miners Hospital for almost 20 years to 2003 had passed the virus on to two patients.
Clinics for those women who choose to follow-up their letter with a consultation and blood test are now in full swing. So far around 1,4000 have taken up the offer.
Wendy Warren, head of planning and civil contingencies at the health board, and responsible for co-ordinating the clinics, said the process is going well.
"The ladies are being very understanding and we have staff at these clinics who are working very hard, spending time explaining the situation and carrying out tests," said Mrs Warren.
"We are taking this situation very seriously and trying to be a responsible healthcare organisation."
Forty-three clinics have been arranged, primarily at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, at Ystrad Mynach, as the majority of the women being contacted come from the surrounding Caerphilly county borough area. Others are being held at the Royal Gwent Hospital, with a small number in Bargoed.
Clinics are being held four evenings a week, 8am-8pm on Saturdays, and 9am-5pm on Sundays.
"Women who come along will spend some time with a clinician discussing the issues, then we will do a blood test if they want one," said Mrs Warren.
"Results will take about two weeks, because we have high number of patients, and we have a special laboratory system set up.
"It's busy but things are going well at the moment and that 's thanks to the women who are coming in, and the staff seeing them."
Women who have had or will receive a letter inviting them for a test, had or may have had major obstetric or gynaecological treatment involving the now retired healthcare worker at Caerphilly District Miners Hospital from May 1984-July 2003.
Such procedures include caesarian sections, hysterectomies, ovary removals and others where the opportunity for blood to blood contact between the patient and the healthcare worker occurred.
More information about Hepatitis C is available at aneurinbevanhb.wales.nhs.uk and from the Hepatitis C Trust at hepctrust.org.uk
Advice and information is also available from NHS Direct Wales on 0845
46 47 for anyone with general concerns.
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