§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence he collates as to the incidence of Hepatitis C and treatment programmes for that condition within the prison population. 
§ Beverley Hughes
[holding answer 16 May 2002]: Among health care data regularly submitted by Prison Service establishments to the Prison Health Policy Unit are the number of new cases of Hepatitis C diagnosed each month and the number of prisoners known to be suffering from Hepatitis C at the end of each month. The Prison Health Policy Unit has recently entered into a new contract with the Prison Health Laboratory Service for a communicable disease data collection and monitoring service.
Information about the number of prisoners receiving treatment for hepatitis C is not collated centrally. However, unless their time in custody is so short as to make it impractical, prisoners who are diagnosed with Hepatitis C are referred to national health service specialists for further assessment and treatment, as clinically appropriate.