University of Derby students called for blood testing after potential infection risk identified

29 April 2014

Kedleston Road site

We are working closely with NHS England and Public Health England to provide support and assistance to those people who may be affected by this issue.

Professor John Coyne, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby

NHS England has been working with Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Derby to undertake an investigation into the vaccination and blood testing procedures of a health care worker, formerly contracted to provide services within the Occupational Health Service at the University of Derby.

The investigation has examined all available University of Derby health records dating back to 2005. It has identified that 606 past and current students on professional programmes may have been placed at an extremely low risk of infection from blood borne viruses (hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV), due to the use of incorrect clinical procedures whilst undertaking blood tests and vaccinations.

Affected students who received blood tests and vaccinations from this particular health care worker at the Occupational Health Service from September 2005 up to October 2013 have been contacted by letter, inviting them to attend a hospital or their GP for a blood test. A dedicated confidential advice line for students which can be accessed seven days a week, has been established on 03330 142479 to provide further help and support.

Dr Doug Black, Medical Director, NHS England Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire said: "This investigation has taken place as it is understood that, whilst syringe needles were always changed between patients, the syringe barrels to which the needles attach were being reused in the administration of vaccinations. This also occurred during blood taking, where a single use holder for a blood collection tube was reused but needles changed

"Therefore there is an extremely low possibility these errors may have put people at risk of infection from hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV. With this in mind, as a precaution, we have reviewed all available University health records and the 606 people identified have all been contacted and invited to attend a blood test at their local hospital or via their GP.

"We are extremely sorry for the undoubted worry and concern people we are contacting may feel on receiving this news. I would however like to stress that the risk is extremely low and would encourage all those we contact, who may not already have been screened after their time at the university, to present themselves for blood testing.

"As part of our investigation the health care worker involved has been reported to the appropriate regulatory body and has been suspended, pending further investigation. We are working closely with the University of Derby and Public Health England to resolve this issue as quickly as possible."

NHS England has been leading the investigation with support from clinicians at Public Health England and representatives from the University of Derby.

Dr Sophia Makki, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, PHE East Midlands said: "We have worked hard to identify those individuals who may have been at risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV and I would like to emphasise the risk of infection is extremely low and that we are offering testing as a precautionary measure.

"Effective treatments are available for all blood borne viruses, which is why it is important to identify anyone who may have been at risk of infection so treatment can be started if necessary."

The University of Derby has contacted all of the 606 individuals identified at being at risk by letter to explain the next steps.

Professor John Coyne, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: "This is a deeply regrettable incident, and it does mean that we need to contact a significant number of our current and former students to ensure they get the information and guidance they need. I apologise for the potential distress this may cause to the people involved.

"We are working closely with NHS England and Public Health England to provide support and assistance to those people who may be affected by this issue, and will continue to do so tirelessly in the coming weeks to ensure that all appropriate support is available and provided.

"An advice line has been set up by the University, with clinical support from Public Health England, to provide advice and guidance to callers. Those who receive a letter are advised to call 03330 142479 for further information on what actions they should take next."

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Notes to Editors
The students attending the following courses are those who have been called for further blood testing:

  • Masters (MA) in Art Therapy
  • Masters (MA) in Drama Therapy
  • Masters (MSc) in Occupational Therapy
  • BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy
  • BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing - Adult and mental health
  • Adv Dip in Nurse Studies (Adult and Mental Health).

The Advice Line will be open seven days a week 8am to 8pm (except for the May Day Bank Holiday weekend when it will run 10am to 4pm).

NHS England is the body which leads the NHS in England. Its main aim is to improve the health outcomes for people in England, and it sets the overall direction and priorities for the NHS as a whole.

To learn more about the work of NHS England please visit www.england.nhs.uk

Public Health England Public Health England's mission is to protect and improve the nation's health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health.

Follow PHE on Twitter @PHE_uk or visit www.gov.uk/phe

The University of Derby achieved University status in 1992 and is home to a diverse community of more than 20,000 students from the UK and overseas. Professor John Coyne has been Vice-Chancellor since 2004.

Students have the choice of studying in four faculties: Education, Health & Science; Business, Computing & Law; Art, Design & Technology; and University of Derby Buxton. There is also the option of studying for a degree online through the University of Derby Online Learning. The University Quarter in Derby incorporates sites at Kedleston Road, Markeaton Street and Britannia Mill to the west of Derby city centre. The University of Derby Buxton is based at the magnificent 18th Century Grade II* listed Devonshire Dome campus in the heart of Buxton.

University of Derby Students' Union, research centres and academic schools - including The Derby Business School - are based at the Kedleston Road site. Facilities include the £1.5m Clinical Skills Suite, a state-of-the-art gym, and a pioneering computer games development suite. The University's corporate training and development division, University of Derby Corporate (UDC), is based at the Enterprise Centre, Bridge Street, Derby.

Visit http://www.derby.ac.uk/ for more information about University of Derby.

NHS England

• NHS England is the body which leads the NHS in England. Its main aim is to improve the health outcomes for people in England, and it sets the overall direction and priorities for the NHS as a whole.

  • For further information, please call 07824 463578

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