The Hepatitis C Trust has today launched a new report, ‘Eliminating Hepatitis C in Scotland: A Call to Action’. The report follows an inquiry conducted by The Hepatitis C Trust and the cross-party Scottish Hepatitis C Parliamentary Champions group over the course of 2017, which involved oral evidence sessions and the submission of written evidence by individuals and organisations working across the hepatitis C patient pathway.
On the basis of this evidence, The Hepatitis C Trust produced the ‘Eliminating Hepatitis C in Scotland’ report, which looks in detail at Scotland’s approach to hepatitis C, including:
- Elimination strategy
- Testing and diagnosis
- Linkage to care
- Access to treatment
The report calls on the Scottish Government to produce a hepatitis C elimination strategy, with ambitious targets to decrease national incidence, mortality and overall prevalence. Additional recommendations on awareness-raising, prevention, testing and treatment are contained in the report, and include calls for:
- An introduction of opt-out testing for hepatitis C in substance misuse services, with commissioning contracts stipulating clear mechanisms to hold services to account for failures to meet testing targets.
- National guidance to be issued on effective implementation of opt-out testing in prisons.
- Treatment cost reductions to be reinvested into additional treatments or services to ensure access to treatment is available to all who need it.
- The Scottish Government to explore alternative treatment funding models offering the opportunity to rapidly increase the number of patients receiving treatment.
Charles Gore, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust said: “Without renewed efforts to find and treat the thousands of undiagnosed patients living with hepatitis C, Scotland may no longer be considered a world leader in tackling this deadly virus.
Eliminating a public health issue that disproportionately affects some of the poorest and most marginalised groups in our society is an extraordinary and eminently achievable opportunity which should be seized with both hands.”
The full report can be accessed here.