Vision for Hepatitis C

The Hepatitis C Coalition is calling for the government to improve hepatitis C services now to prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths.

In our report, ‘A Vision for Change in Hepatitis C’, leading hepatitis C clinicians, patient and professional groups found that the current state of hepatitis C services in England is unacceptable. Deaths from hepatitis C have quadrupled since 1996 and are rising faster than any other disease in the UK’s five “big killers” list. Without earlier identification and more treatment, the burden of end stage liver disease, liver cancer and liver disease deaths from hepatitis C will continue to grow for at least the next 20 years.

In response, Dr Paul Cosford, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director at Public Health England, said: “With around 160,000 people in England living with chronic hepatitis C, there is an urgent need to scale up our response and prevent more deaths and serious illness.” Recent advances in medicines have led some experts to predict that hepatitis C could be eliminated in the UK by 2030. Chair of the Coalition Professor Mark Thursz, a Consultant Hepatologist at St Mary’s Hospital, said: “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.”

Currently only 3% of people infected with hepatitis C receive treatment.

The Coalition has set out 8 clear recommendations, including the need for the development of a clear national implementation plan, improvements in diagnosis and screening and timely access to approved medicines.

We are also appealing to the Department of Health to take lead responsibility for the implementation plan, to ensure a coordinated and effective approach to testing, treating and curing people with the condition and the prevention of new infections.

Please contact hepccoalition@lexcomm.co.uk with any queries or interview requests.

MARK THURSZ - Call to action 7 from Hepatitis C Coalition on Vimeo.

CHARLES GORE - Call to action 6 from Hepatitis C Coalition on Vimeo.