Halve hepatitis C related deaths by 2020

As a member of the Hepatitis C Coalition, a group committed to the reduction of morbidity and mortality associated with hepatitis C, Blenheim has played a key role in shaping the recently launched Vision for Change in Hepatitis C: Test, Treat, Cure report. This important document sets out eight clear recommendations to transform the management of hepatitis C, ultimately enabling more people to reach cure, thus preventing thousands of unnecessary deaths and reducing the burden on our strained health services.

Hepatitis C affects 160,000 people in England and is sometimes known as the silent killer as it can persist undetected for years.1 Now patients with the condition in the UK have the greatest chance of achieving cure than at any other point in the history of the disease, and with effective management the Hepatitis C Coalition believe that the disease could be eliminated in the UK by 2030.

In order to achieve this vision, Blenheim along with the other 17 organisations, agree that if advances in cost-effective treatments are matched by improvements in services, the elimination of hepatitis C from the UK is achievable. The Coalition has called on ministers and political parties to commit to halving hepatitis C-related liver cancers and deaths by 2020 and eliminating the virus by 2030.

“We are in a very fortunate position to have cost effective treatments that will cure the majority of hepatitis C patients but we need to find these patients and treat them. To seize this opportunity we need strong national leadership, co-ordination and oversight to ensure patients do no die prematurely when a cure is available,” said Chair, Professor Mark Thursz, Professor of Hepatology at Imperial College and Consultant Hepatologist at St Mary’s Hospital.

Blenheim, along with all Hepatitis C Coalition members, agree that service provision is lacking and improvements are urgently needed. Specifically, Blenheim, is deeply concerned that only a small minority of the nearly 300 people in our services with hepatitis C are currently receiving treatment. The long term impact of this failure is chronic ill health and in some cases death for what is an eminently treatable condition. Blenheim is determined to address this shameful failure to respond to people’s serious life threating conditions. The current position is completely unacceptable.

Blenheim will continue to work with the Coalition to address challenges and ensure the group vision is ultimately realised. You can read more about what Blenheim is doing in its services here.

If you would like more information about The Hepatitis C Coalition’s A Vision for Hepatitis C: Test, Treat, Cure including the eight calls for tackling hepatitis C, please visit www.hepc-coalition.uk/.

References

  1. Public Health England. Hepatitis C in the UK: 2014 report. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/337115/HCV_in_the_UK_2014_24_July.pdf (last accessed October 2014)

A vision for hepatitis C info graphic

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