Welsh Assembly holds debate on hepatitis C

Hepatitis C was the subject of a debate in the Welsh Assembly this afternoon (Wednesday 14th June), led by a cross-party group of Assembly Members (AMs). The debate was on a motion which proposed that the Assembly:

"1) Congratulates the staff in the NHS in Wales for treating and curing an unprecedented number of patients with hepatitis C.

2) Calls on the Welsh Government to confirm their commitment to the World Health Organisation eradication date of 2030.

3) Calls on the Welsh Government to consider new operational guidelines to support the NHS to work towards the eradication of hepatitis C in Wales."

The debate featured contributions from a cross-party range of AMs, with many highlighting Wales' progress in tackling hepatitis C, whilst emphasising the need to diagnose the estimated 50% of people living with an undiagnosed infection of the virus.

AMs called for measures including an increase in testing for hepatitis C, a public awareness campaign to improve knowledge of the virus and further efforts to tackle stigma.

A number of AMs referred to The Hepatitis C Trust's work and urged the implementation of the key recommendations in The Hepatitis C Trust's 'Hepatitis C in Wales' report.

Vaughan Gething, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, said that the Welsh Government remains committed to eliminating hepatitis C by 2030 and noted that the Blood Borne Viral Strategy Group has been tasked with producing a draft framework of action, which will set out measures to increase testing in community settings and diagnose more patients.

The debate concluded with AMs unanimously supporting the motion.