Under the Public Health Act (Northern Ireland) doctors have a statutory duty to notify the Public Health Agency (PHA) if they are aware of, or suspect that, a patient is suffering from a notifiable disease.
The Public Health (Northern Ireland) Act 1967 states that:
‘every medical practitioner attending on a person shall as soon as he becomes aware, or has reasonable grounds for suspecting, that the person is suffering from a notifiable disease, send to the medical officer of health for the area in which the examination took place a certificate stating:
· The name, age, sex and address of the patient
· The address of the building in which the examination took place and
· The notifiable disease from which, in the opinion of the medical practitioner, the patient is, or may be, suffering’
If a patient is admitted to hospital with a diagnosis, or suspected of having, any notifiable disease, the clinician in charge has a legal responsibility to notify the Public Health Agency. Likewise, in a community setting, General Practitioners (GPs) have the same responsibility.
A list of diseases that require notification can be found here. The aim of notification is to identify the risks and institute appropriate control measures as early as possible.
PHA NI Hepatitis C Notification form - link below
Having Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C may not only have implications for you, but also for your family, loved ones and other areas of your life too.
Finding support can help you and talking to someone can be very useful and important. If you're not ready to tell your family or friends yet, talking to a Healthcare professional can help (details below).
REMEMBER- there are plenty of options available to help you lead a healthy life.
|Help and support is available from:
|Hepatitis Specialist nurses:-
Karen Patterson and Orla McCormick
Annelies McCurley ( Hepatitis B&C Network Co-ordinator)
07788883457 / 07712506350
|Sexual health/Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinic- for free confidential information.
|Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast
028 7034 6028
0800 389 4424 (24/7)
|Anderson House, Glenshane Road, Londonderry
|028 7161 1269
|New Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex
|028 7161 1269
|John Mitchell Place, Newry
|028 3756 2080
|Portadown Health and Care Centre
|028 3083 4200
|Downe Hospital, Downpatrick
|028 4483 8133
If you are working in an area or if you're travelling and could be at risk of catching hepatitis B, a course of vaccinations should be considered to help protect you.
Individuals at high risk include:
- Travellers to a high risk area (sub-Saharan Africa, East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands)
- People adopting or fostering children from high risk areas
- People who inject drugs, or have a sexual partner who does
- Someone who frequently changes sexual partners
- Men who have sex with men
- Sex workers
- People working in areas with a risk of coming into contact with blood or body fluids (nurses, prison staff, doctors, dentists, laboratory staff)
- People receiving regular blood or blood products, and their carers
How long does hepatitis B vaccination last?
A course of vaccinations should provide lifelong protection.
About the vaccine
When to get vaccinated: In order to complete the full course in time, you need to get the first dose at least one month before travel.
Course: The course consists of three doses. The second injection is given four weeks after the first, and the third injection should be given five months later (completing the course in six months).
Accelerated course: If travelling at short notice, you may be able to get an accelerated course. You will receive the second injection after seven days, followed by the third injection at least 14 days after the second.
Boosters: Once you have completed the course, you usually won’t need another booster for five years. Boosters are sometimes recommended after exposure to the disease.
How it is given: Injection in the upper arm.
Side effects: Possible side effects include soreness at the injection site and tiredness.
Children: The hepatitis B vaccine can be given from birth.
Additional precautions: If travelling to a country where medical resources are limited, carry sterile needles with you. Use a condom every time you have sex to avoid catching hepatitis B during
Where to access the Hepatitis B Vaccine in Northern Ireland
SH:24 Free Home STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) testing kit
Free STI test kit, results in 7 days – test for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV.
Confidential testing, information and advice with NHS clinics. Regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
Harm reduction resources
Northern Ireland Drug and Alcohol Directories of services
Each of the four Northern Ireland Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams (DACTs) has produced a directory of services available in their area.
Drugs and Alcohol App
ASCERT and Queens University Belfast have produced a mobile phone App which is downladable for free on itunes and the android app store. This app provides resources on the theory, practice and legislation related to drugs and alcohol. It also provides information on drugs and services available in Northern Ireland that address drug and alcohol issues.
For iphones click here
For android click here
|Talk to Frank (formely National Drugs Helpline)
|0300 123 6600
|Helpline contact numbers-For anyone with concerns about Hepatitis B
|Hepatitis B Foundation Positive Trust helpline
(10:30 am -8pm, Mon -Fri)
|British Liver Trust helpline
(9am -5pm, Mon -Fri)
|Helpline contact numbers-For anyone with concerns about Hepatitis C
The Northern Ireland Regional Hepatitis B&C Clinical Network
028 961 55569 / 028 961 55725/ 079 079 79722
Hep C Trust helpline number
|0845 223 4424 or 020 7089 6221 (available 10.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday).
|RVH Liver Support Group
Support is available to individuals infected with Hepatitis C and/or HIV by NHS supplied blood transfusions or blood products and their dependants.
The Infected Blood Inquiry has been hearing evidence since 2019, and expects to continue this into 2022. The Inquiry would like to ensure that everyone living with hepatitis C caused by infected blood or blood products has the opportunity to contribute to the Inquiry by sharing their experience.
There are a number of ways to do this, with more information on how to participate here. The Inquiry would be grateful if you could share this information with any of your patients who were infected in this way before September 1991, prior to effective screening. The Inquiry team recognises that participating in an Inquiry can be difficult and anyone who comes forward will be able to share their experience in confidence, and can do this anonymously if preferred.
The best way to contact the Inquiry is to email email@example.com or phone 0808 169 1377.
Have you or a family member been infected as a result of receiving contaminated blood?
If you feel like you would like psychological support, then please contact the Clinical Psychological Service on 028 9615 5867
Useful websites for information and support
Harm Reduction Works – information about HIV; overdose prevention; Safer injecting practice; Hepatitis B and C viruses
The Hepatitis C Trust – Information about Hepatitis C, treatments and support
The Royal Liver Support Group – Independent group offering help and support to those in Northern Ireland, with liver diseases