FORMER patients treated during an eight week period between May and July 1984 at the old East Glamorgan General Hospital in Pontypridd are being contacted by Cwm Taf Health Board from today.
The move comes after a healthcare worker involved in their obstetric and gynaecological treatment almost 30 years ago has been subsequently diagnosed with hepatitis C.
The healthcare worker spent most of their career working at Caerphilly District Miners’ Hospital but also briefly worked at East Glamorgan General Hospital between May 28 and July 17 1984 and at Wrexham Maelor Hospital between May and June 1978.
The virus is known to have been transmitted from the healthcare worker to two patients between 1984 and 2002, when the individual stopped clinical practice.
Cwm Taf Health Board is identifying and contacting patients who have or may have been treated by the healthcare worker at East Glamorgan General Hospital during that eight-week period.
Patients will receive an individual letter that will ask them to ring a dedicated helpline to arrange an appointment in a specialist nurse clinic.
Nicola John, director of public health at Cwm Taf Health Board, said: “We know this will be a very worrying time for patients who may have received obstetric and gynaecology treatment at East Glamorgan General Hospital between May and July 1984. However, we want to stress the risk of transmission to patients is small.
“But it is important that we get in touch with patients who may have been in contact with this healthcare worker during the course of their treatment, which is why we are writing to some former patients, to ask them to contact the helpline.
“We are working closely with colleagues at Aneurin Bevan Health Board to identify all those patients who may have been affected and support them during this difficult time.
“Special clinics have been set up to offer hepatitis C testing to former patients and support will be provided by specialist nurses.”
Cwm Taf Health Board is working with Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to ensure a co-ordinated response for patients.
The appointments helpline will be open from today (11th September 2013) from 8am to 8pm seven days a week. Specialist clinics will start taking place from 13th September 2013 and patients who attend for testing will receive results in approximately two weeks.
Hepatitis C is a virus which can lead to inflammation of the liver, causing chronic liver disease and in some rare cases liver cancer. Treatment is available for hepatitis C. In most cases, the virus is asymptomatic – people who are infected do not realise they have the infection and suffer no noticeable symptoms.
The virus is transmitted via blood-to-blood contact. It cannot be transmitted by social contact, kissing or sharing food and drink.
More information about hepatitis C, including a factsheet and frequently asked questions, will be available from the Cwm Taf and Aneurin Bevan health board websites at www.cwmtafhb.wales.nhs.uk and www.aneurinbevanhb.wales.nhs.uk
General information about hepatitis C is available from the Hepatitis C Trust at www.hepctrust.org.uk
All media inquiries relating to this issue will be handled by Aneurin Bevan Health Board. Please contact Karen Newman, head of communications, on 01633 435 939 or email email@example.com