A health worker who practiced at Bedford Hospital and was later found to have hepatitis C has prompted a nationwide health investigation.
From August to November 1978, the un-named worker practiced obstetrics and gynaecology at the hospital.
Although it is not known whether the doctor had contracted the blood condition at the time, women who were treated are being contacted by health chiefs as part of a nationwide review.
During the course of the review it has already been found that the worker passed on the virus to two patients.
Dr Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England which has conducted the investigation, said: “We have worked hard to identify women in England who might have been at risk of contracting infection with hepatitis C from this healthcare worker and are contacting them to offer advice and a blood test for hepatitis C, should they wish to have one.
“I want to emphasise that the risk of infection is very small and that we are offering them testing purely as a precaution.”
The healthcare worker, who stopped practicing in 2002, did not discover that they had the condition, which often has no symptoms, until after they retired.
Anyone who is concerned that they may have been treated by the worker can receive support by calling 0800 121 4400.