"when medical staff found out i had hep C"

About: Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow

(as the patient),

In April 2016 I went to my GP as I was experiencing severe headaches. He suspected an arterial problem and I was sent to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. I was admitted to a side ward to have an advanced examination in ward 11b (I think) and was told that I needed a chest x ray. I was placed in a side room and I asked when the scan and chest x ray would be carried out. The doctor noticed on my file that I had had hepatitis C, and decided not to proceed with the scan. I was advised that the ward staff refused to enter my room without being gowned and gloved, despite my reassuring them that I had been successfully treated and no longer had hepatitis C (but even if I did this treatment was awful). I was in this ward for 3 days and did not see any cleaning staff, my bed sheets were not changed at all for 3 days. The doctor said that my hepatitis C couldn't be cured and that it could come back at any time.

This is the second time in 2 years I have had an experience like this at hospital within NHS GGC. And I can explain fully the other experience I had (while I was undergoing treatment for hepatitis C) which resulted in me hearing a nurse from the Southern General hospital saying here they go moaning about stigma and voicing their opinion, as I was left to get home in my night dress after the staff found out about my hepatitis C.

Both of these experiences have left me fearful of going back to hospital for any future appointments. Staff at wards that specifically cared for my hepatitis C were wonderful - however I feel that from my experiences more must be done to inform staff of the facts, and also attitudes, towards people living with hepatitis C.

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Responses

Response from Lesley Bon, Patient Involvement Officer, Hepatitis Scotland

Thank you Penna55 for sharing your experience.

Unfortunately people living with hepatitis C still do face stigma, and although no one expects this from health care workers, unfortunately this can happen. It is often born of misinformation, and there does seem to be a training need for the staff you encountered whilst at QEUH.

Hepatitis Scotland offers training to staff working with people with viral hepatitis, and would be happy to discuss this with staff who would like to learn about hepatitis C and its treatment.

Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood to blood contact, so there is no reason for medical or cleaning staff not to come into your room.

Treatments today for hepatitis C offer a cure in more than 90% of people who receive treatment. With people living with hepatitis C, and any other blood borne virus, the same universal precautions should be taken as with anyone else.

Hopefully by sharing your experience, staff will receive up to date knowledge on hepatitis C and its transmission, and learn about the treatments available for people which do cure hepatitis C infection.

Staff should familiarise themselves with Outcome 5 of the Sexual health and Blood Borne Virus Framework (http://www.hepatitisscotland.org.uk/files/7414/4302/0060/shbbv_framework_update_2020.pdf) which states: "We know there continues to be challenges around stigma and negative attitudes towards those affected by poor sexual health and blood borne viruses, and no strategy will resolve this in five years. What is needed is consistent, on-going efforts to raise awareness, to educate and to inform."

As well as the current treatment guidelines for hepatitis C (http://www.hepatitisscotland.org.uk/files/1514/4431/5613/national-clinical-guidelines-treatment-hepatitis-c-in-adults.pdf) which states "that patients should have an expectation of cure of at least 90% at their initial treatment."

Other information is available on our website at www.hepatitisscotland.org.uk or by calling 0141 225 0419.

Lesley Bon, Patient Involvement Officer, Hepatitis Scotland

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Response from Nicole McInally, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Penna55

My apologies for the delay in responding to your posting.

I am sorry read about the care and staff attitudes that you experienced within Ward 11B.

I will share you post with the General Manager and ask that they come back here with a reply to the issues you have raised.

Please accept my apologies.

Kind Regards

Nicole

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Response from Nicole McInally, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Penna55

I have forwarded your post to the General Manager. We would like to be able to look into the points that you have raised further. Could you please email me at Nicole.McInally@ggc.scot.nhs.uk with some details.

Many thanks

Nicole

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