London Assembly motion calling for Sadiq Khan to lead on hepatitis C passes unanimously

A motion calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to take the lead on raising awareness of hepatitis C passed unanimously yesterday in the London Assembly.

Susan Hall AM introduced the motion, telling assembly members that hepatitis C is something “we all need to be talking about”. She emphasised that hepatitis C is a “major public health issue”, affecting an estimated 40,000 people living in London and said that Assembly Members “must do all we can” to raise awareness about new, effective treatments to “eradicate this in London”.

Onkar Sahota AM seconded the motion, commending the Mayor for his ongoing partnership work with Public Health England and the London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C (LJWG). Increasing testing and raising awareness about the availability of new treatments in London is crucial as 30% of people with the virus live in the capital. However, efforts to prevent infection could be undermined, he warned, by severe and sustained cuts to local authority public health budgets.

The motion stated: “This Assembly believes that hepatitis C is a serious public health and health inequalities issue in London and urges the London Mayor, in his role as Chair of the London Health Board, to lead efforts to raise awareness about the condition and new curative treatments available. This Assembly also calls on the Mayor to outline his plans and timelines for the steps and measures he is taking to accomplish this.”

The Hepatitis C Trust recently joined the LJWG and Public Health England in meeting with Dr Tom Coffey, the Mayor's Health Adviser, to discuss the Mayor's role in supporting efforts to eliminate hepatitis C by the NHS England target of 2025.

The debate on the London Assembly motion can be viewed here from 2.50.00 onwards