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Life-saving screening for hepatitis B and C now offered to Emergency patients at the PRUH

26 March 2024 - From 1 February 2024, all patients having a blood test in the Emergency Department at the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH), part of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, have been automatically offered testing for hepatitis B and C.

The screening, which includes all patients over 16 years old, is in addition to routine HIV testing, which was introduced at the hospital’s Emergency Department in April 2021.

Dr Claire Gray, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the PRUH, said: “The successful roll-out of hepatitis B and C testing in our Emergency Department has already resulted in over 8,000 of our patients taking part in the screening. As a result, we can help detect even more people in need of treatment.

“The hepatitis B and C viruses often do not have any symptoms, so people wouldn’t necessarily know they have the condition without a specific blood test. The viruses can cause serious liver damage and cancer, but they can be treated effectively with antiviral medicines. The earlier people find out they are infected, the better their chance of a long and healthy life, and no further onward transmission.”

Patients can choose to opt out of being screened for HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C by speaking to a clinician when offered testing in the Emergency Department.

Patients will be contacted by the Trust’s Hepatitis Team if their test results suggest they are in need of further support and treatment.