DOZENS of NHS patients and staff have been offered screening for tuberculosis after it emerged they could have been exposed to the infection while in hospital.

NHS Lanarkshire said 33 people had been offered advice and appropriate screening after it was confirmed that a patient who stayed in a ward at Wishaw General Hospital between December last year and March had been diagnosed with the condition.

It said the offer of screening was a precautionary measure. It is understood that, despite the patient's extended stay in hospital, the diagnosis was confirmed within the past fortnight.

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Patients and staff were contacted following what NHS Lanarkshire described as an extensive assessment process to identify everyone involved. No-one else is identified as being at risk.

Dr Josephine Pravinkumar, consultant in public health medicine, said: "Tuberculosis is not easily passed from person to person. As a precaution we are offering screening to individuals we have identified as having had close contact with the patient over a period of time."