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HWBs 'failing' on hepatitis C care

HWBs 'failing' on hepatitis C care


Health and wellbeing boards are failing to prioritise hepatitis C (HCV) despite rising hospitals admissions and deaths from the virus, a charity has claimed. 

Evidence gathered by HCV Action and The Hepatitis C Trust shows that even in areas where HCV is high in prevalence, it is often not invalided in needs assessments.

Three in ten of the top areas of high prevalence mentioned the virus in their joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) or joint health and wellbeing strategies (JHWS). 

Only 5% of JSNAs have a section which is dedicated to HCV, and a third mention the virus once in other contacts. 

Dr Stephen Ryder, Consultant Hepatologist, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and chair of HCV Action, said: “The report highlights the alarming disconnect between the prevalence of hepatitis C and how local health and wellbeing boards prioritise the diagnosis and treatment of the virus.”  

"There are, however, pockets of best practice where the true burden of hepatitis C has been recognised and where local health and wellbeing boards have given due attention to the issue in their joint strategic needs assessment. One such area that has already taken this vital step is Westminster, London, which is one of the top 10 boards for hepatitis C cases and which gives the virus a dedicated section in its JSNA." 

Charles Gore, chief executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, said: “We are, for the first time, in a position to eliminate hepatitis C from England with new treatment options becoming available. With hospital admissions and deaths from hepatitis C rising and a clear national ambition within the Public Health Outcomes Framework and NHS Outcomes Framework to decrease deaths from liver disease, addressing hepatitis C should be a key priority area for local health boards. 

"As a first step towards tackling these issues and making the elimination of hepatitis C from England a reality, health and wellbeing boards need to assess their local situation and to prioritise diagnosing and treating patients in their local area.”


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