Written Answers. - Hospital Staff.

Tuesday, 5 November 2002

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 556 No. 3

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  511.  Mr. Naughten  Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten   asked the Minister for Health and Children  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   if he has been assured by the Western Health Board that all front line staff have protection against hepatitis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19983/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  I understand from the Western Health Board that it is the policy to offer vaccination to all staff at risk from hepatitis A and B where it is recognised as an occupational hazard.

An educational programme and an information pack is also supplied relating to hepatitis B. Staff who decline hepatitis B vaccination are required to sign a disclaimer form, while being made aware that they can avail of the vaccination at any time in the future should they have a change of mind. All new employees, whose work requires them to carry out exposure prone procedures, must provide documentary evidence that they are not infectious carriers of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), and a clear protocol for screening of new staff is in place.

With regard to hepatitis C, no vaccine is currently available but I understand that in the Western Health Board a policy to prevent its transmission is adhered to which is based on standardised precautions including the use of barrier and safety equipment.

I have been advised by the Western Health Board that, when incidents of infection arise amongst existing staff, confidential counselling by the occupational physician is made available.


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