Blenheim joins the Hepatitis C Coalition

26 February 2014

Blenheim hosted an event at the House of Lords in January 2014 to celebrate 50 years of social action, its chief executive John Jolly pledged the organisation to addressing the lack of access to treatment for those with Hepatitis C.

Blenheim has now joined the Hepatitis C Coalition a group of leading clinicians, patients, organisations and other interested parties committed to the reduction of morbidity and mortality associated with Hepatitis C and its eventual elimination.

Hepatitis C disproportionately affects the marginalised groups of people Blenheim works with, including intravenous drug users, prisoners and immigrant populations. Latest data show that a significant proportion of people with Hepatitis C remain undiagnosed and that just 3% of those chronically infected receive treatment each year.

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease which can have serious health consequences including cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer and ultimately, death. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can have a significant impact on quality of life and ability to work, and result in high costs to the NHS which increase in line with worsening disease severity.

The burden of Hepatitis C is substantial and still growing, as people who contracted HCV many years ago begin to develop the long term complications of untreated chronic Hepatitis C. This presents an increasing challenge to the healthcare community, as well as putting pressure on limited healthcare resources. And yet, with the right diagnosis and treatment, Hepatitis C is usually curable.

Liver disease is the only one of the five “big killers” in the UK where mortality is rising. Of the major causes of liver mortality, death rates from Hepatitis C are rising the fastest, more than tripling since 1996.

However, simple actions taken now could reduce Hepatitis C related liver cancers and deaths by 50% by 2020. We could eliminate the disease within a generation.

Blenheim calls on NHS England, Public Health England and the Department of Health to make the elimination of Hepatitis C a clear priority; and to take action to ensure better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis C.

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