Welsh Assembly criticises chiefs
 

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Welsh Assembly criticises chiefs

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Welsh Assembly criticises chiefs

 

Welsh Assembly criticises chiefs

Health chiefs have been criticised by the Welsh Assembly for taking too long to tell the public that a former dental healthcare worker had been treating patients while infected with hepatitis C.

The National Public Health Service (NPHS) for Wales first became aware of the problem in October 2005. It wasn’t until May that an announcement was made about the worker, who used to be employed at a dental practice in Gwynedd.

Welsh National Assembly member, Alun Ffred Jones, has complained that it appeared to have taken ‘a very long time’ for the National Public Health Service for Wales to alert the public about any possible danger they might be in.

Dr Brendan Mason, a NPHS deputy faculty adviser, said that the reason was that they have 30 years of patient records to sort through and that they have been trying to compile a list of those most at risk of contracting the disease.

He said: ‘We understand that people are worried, we want to write to patients when the counselling and blood tests are ready - we have no desire to be secretive.’

The NPHS for Wales has revealed that up to 5,500 people will require screening, but have yet to reveal which practice in the region is affected.

They have confirmed that the person at the centre of the scare is no longer working in a healthcare capacity.

Dr Mason has assured all those concerned that the risk of passing the disease on to patients was ‘very low indeed’ but that the process of screening would take time.

Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus spread through the exchange of body fluids, leading to the inflammation of the liver and impairment of its function.

If the condition worsens, patients can suffer from jaundice, weight loss, fatigue and flu-like symptoms.

In about 20% of patients, no symptoms occur and the disease clears itself from their systems within six months. In other cases, a combination therapy of drugs (interferon alpha and ribavirin) might be needed to treat the disease. Where the disease has caused severe and progressive liver damage a transplant may be required to cure the condition.

 Posted on : Wed 7th - Jun - 2006

 

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