§ Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will consult the Royal College of Dental Surgeons as to the advisibility of offering immunisation to all dental surgeons against hepatitis B;
(2) if he will implement a comprehensive immunisation programme by recommending vaccination to the six classifications of persons at risk of contracting or carrying hepatitis B set out in the first leading article of the British Medical Journal dated Saturday 10 November.
§ Mr. John Patten
The Department's policy on immunisation against Hepatitis B is based on guidance 71W issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in the light of recommendations made by the advisory group on hepatitis. This guidance is contained in a letter CMO(82)13/CNO(82)11 dated 15 October 1982 and in our Department's memorandum "Immunisation against Infectious Disease" issued in April this year, copies of which are in the Library. The policy recommends that immunisation against Hepatitis B should be restricted to high risk groups, although the decision to vaccinate in any particular case is a matter for the individual doctor concerned. The categories of people for whom immunisation against Hepatitis B is recommended are kept under constant review. Any dental practitioner who feels himself at risk from Hepatitis B should consult his doctor about the possibility of immunisation. We have no plans to consult on this matter, although we should be happy to consider any representations the Royal College of Surgeons may wish to make.