Campaigning in Wales

Key facts

  • Around 8,000 people in Wales have hepatitis C
  • 23% of people who inject drugs in Wales have a chronic (active) hepatitis C infection
  • Around 600 people were treated for hepatitis C in Wales in 2018/19, short of the target of 900 patients accessing treatment per year
  • The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically affected hepatitis C treatment initiations. While treatment rates fell markedly in all UK nations in the immediate wake of the first wave, by July 2020 treatment initiations in England were 42% lower than the previous year. By contrast, by August 2020 treatment initiations in Wales were still 71% lower than the year before.

Our work

Wales has an estimated 8,000 people with hepatitis C, the majority of whom remain undiagnosed. In May 2015, following the completion of its Blood Borne Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, the Welsh Government launched the Liver Disease Delivery Plan. This Plan committed the Welsh Government to ensuring a targeted roll-out of new treatments, and to continuing efforts to improve hepatitis C treatment and care in the country. The Plan was welcome and there has been progress but there is still much more work to be done to tackle hepatitis C in Wales.

Our work in Wales is predominantly focused on increasing the public and political attention that hepatitis C receives. As well as participating in key policy groups which drive the direction of hepatitis C strategy in the country, we engage with political and health leaders to ensure the patient voice is represented in decision-making. 

We also engage directly with members of the Welsh Parliament, and seek to ensure that hepatitis C is on the agenda of Members of the Senedd (MSs). We have, for example, co-ordinated visits by MSs to hepatitis C services in the community, as well as briefed MSs ahead of key relevant debates in the Welsh Parliament. In January 2019, we gave evidence to the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee's inquiry into hepatitis C elimination in Wales. 

We work closely with the ‘Welsh Parliamentary Champions’, a cross-party group of supporters we convened within the Welsh Parliament. The six Welsh Parliamentary Champions are committed to the elimination of hepatitis C and work closely with The Hepatitis C Trust to represent the interests of people with hepatitis C in Wales. 

Contact details

We are always seeking to hear from people affected by hepatitis C who wish to help us with our work in Wales. If you would like to get involved, please contact Aidan Rylatt at aidan.rylatt@hepctrust.org.uk or on 020 7089 6205.