OVER 400 women in Mid-Ulster who fear they may have been infected with hepatitis C by a gynaecologist have contacted an emergency helpline set up last week.
However, the Clinical Director for Obstetrics and Gynaecology within the Northern Trust has said the risk to patients who came into contact with the Mid-Ulster Hospital staff member who has recently been diagnosed with Hepatitis C is ‘very small.’
Speaking to the MAIL, Dr Robin Ashe said he is encouraging patients who were treated in the Maternity and Gynaecology Department in Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt, between January 11 and November 4, 1979 to contact the helpline set up as a precaution.
There is only a small chance that a person might have the Hepatitis C virus transmitted through contact with the infected healthcare worker.
“This healthcare worker has Hepatitis C and we know this person was in the Maternity and Gynaecology Department of the Mid-Ulster Hospital and would have come into contact with patients and a number of other staff during that period.
“It’s important to stress, however, that the risk is small and we are taking all precautions,” he said.
Dr Ashe said as well as the hospital having a number of means through which they can trace people, GPs are also actively involved in the search.
“We have a helpline open seven days a week from 8.30am to 8.30pm and we are urging all women who were treated in the department between those dates to come forward.
“Please telephone us and hopefully we can exclude people from this,” he said.
DUP MLA Ian McCrea is also encouraging women to ring the helpline on 028 9442 4804.