Parliamentarians, patients & clinicians call for national hepatitis C improvement framework

 With the new treatments approved for use on the NHS last week in final guidance released by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a huge opportunity now exists to eliminate hepatitis C as a serious public health concern – if action is taken.

Yesterday, The Hepatitis C Trust organised a parliamentary reception on hepatitis C and associated diseases, in partnership with the APPG on Hepatology (APPHG) and the Hepatitis C Coalition. The event, which was co-hosted by Liz McInnes, Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton and Vice-Chair of the APPHG, and Conservative MP Gary Streeter, sought to raise awareness of the urgent need for a national improvement framework for hepatitis C, to improve testing, diagnosis and treatment rates and facilitate more joined-up services. Attendees, who included parliamentarians, patients, clinicians and policymakers, heard talks calling for action from Liz McInnes MP, Baroness Randerson, Professor Graham Foster (Hepatologist at Queen Mary University of London), and Dr Onn Min Kon, a TB specialist.

With hepatitis C disproportionately affecting the most disadvantaged and marginalised in society, patients are often those vulnerable to other health conditions such as HIV, TB and alcohol-related liver disease, as well as those affected by haemophilia and thalassemia. Too often, the opportunities for joining up public health services – for example by blood testing for different viruses at once – are not taken advantage of, with silo-based working leading to at-risk patients going undetected.  Ensuring a strategic, joined-up policy approach to addressing hepatitis C and associated diseases would not only serve to reduce health inequalities, but open up efficiency savings for the NHS.

On the day, a significant number of attendees were photographed in parliament with our pledge card calling for action to release an improvement framework for hepatitis C.

 

 Join the campaign:

  • On Twitter using the hashtag #eliminatehepC and retweeting our pledge card here.
  • On Facebook by sharing our pledge card here.