May 16, 2014

Public health boards fail to prioritise hepatitis C

Alistair Kleebauer

Nursing Standard. 28, 37, 0-0. http://dx.doi.org/10.7748/ns.28.37.0.2837992

Published online: 16 May 2014

Health and wellbeing boards in England are failing to make the hepatitis C virus (HCV) a priority despite an increase in hospital admissions and deaths from the virus, according to the HCV Action network and the charity Hepatitis C Trust.

Both groups said the failure constituted a ‘serious public health issue’ and that their evidence showed just three of the top ten areas with the highest prevalence have a detailed needs assessment of hepatitis C, which is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Their report found that 52 per cent of health and wellbeing boards fail to mention hepatitis C at all in their joint strategic needs assessments or in their joint health and wellbeing strategies.

Public Health England (PHE) data show that deaths from hepatitis C-related end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, a hepatitis C-related cancer, are rising year-on-year, from 89 in 1996 to 326 in 2012.

HCV Action’s chair and consultant hepatologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Stephen Ryder said: ‘The report highlights the alarming gap between the prevalence of hepatitis C and the way health and wellbeing boards prioritise the diagnosis and treatment of the virus.’

For read the full report, go to: www.hepctrust.org.uk/Resources/HepC%20New/Documents/Hepatitis%20C%20in%20JSNAs%20Final%20Report%20May%2014%20PDF.pdf

To comment on this story email letters@rcnpublishing.co.uk

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