Patient infected with hepatitis C in Monklands Hospital

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A health board has apologised after a patient became infected with hepatitis C during a stay in hospital.

NHS Lanarkshire said it was unsure how the blood-borne virus had been transmitted to the patient in Monklands Hospital in April 2012.

It wrote to seven other patients who were there at the time but said it was very unlikely that any were infected.

NHS Lanarkshire said it had learned lessons and improved infection control procedures at Monklands Hospital.

Hepatitis C can, if left untreated, cause chronic liver disease and, very rarely, cancer of the liver.

It is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and, very rarely, through sexual intercourse.

Dr Iain Wallace, NHS Lanarkshire medical director, said: "We are committed to providing the highest standards of infection control across all of our services.

'Thorough investigation'

"It is of the greatest regret that on this occasion we did not do so. We have already used the lessons learned from this case to make further improvements to our infection control processes and practice."

Dr John Logan, consultant in public medicine, said: "We have carried out a detailed and thorough investigation.

"While it is very unlikely that anyone else has been infected in connection with this, we have taken the precaution of providing seven patients with information about the situation and a questions and answers document.

"They have also been offered an appointment to see a hepatitis C specialist for further information and advice and to have a test for hepatitis C should they wish to be tested."

In November, health inspectors revealed that they had found failings in infection control procedures at Monklands Hospital for the second time in nine months.

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