MSP visits hepatitis C treatment service

With around 4000 people in Grampian estimated to have hepatitis C, the virus represents a significant public health and health inequalities issue in the region. With this in mind, Kevin Stewart (MSP for Aberdeen Central and one of The Hepatitis C Trust’s Parliamentary Champions), yesterday visited the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) to meet clinical staff involved in the delivery of hepatitis C treatment in Grampian.

On hand to give Kevin a tour of the Peter Brunt Centre, the outpatient facility for hepatology and gastroenterology, were consultants Dr Lindsay McLeman and Dr Shirley English, as well as liver nurse Shona Allan. After the tour, the group held a discussion about hepatitis C in the Aberdeen and wider Grampian region, with a focus on how new treatments are transforming the ways in which treatment is delivered, as well as the possibilities which they offer to treat ever-greater numbers of people.

Following the visit, Kevin said:

“As a Hepatitis C Parliamentary Champion, I was delighted to visit the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary yesterday and meet some of the fantastic team who are delivering hepatitis C treatment to people in Grampian. Their passion for improving the care of people with hepatitis C was clear to see, and it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about how the new Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework will have an impact on the ground.

There is still much more work to be done, but with the Scottish Government being committed to the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health concern and with a range of new treatments now becoming available, this is an exciting time for those of us in Scotland committed to tackling the virus.”

 

Neil Cowan, Policy and Parliamentary Adviser at The Hepatitis C Trust, said:

“Yesterday’s visit highlighted the great work that is being carried out by clinical staff in Grampian, as it is across Scotland, to tackle hepatitis C. With around 37,000 people in Scotland having hepatitis C, we still have a long way to go, but with the support of MSPs like Kevin allied with the passion and expertise of staff like those at the ARI, we are confident that hepatitis C can be eliminated in Scotland as a serious public health concern.”