NHSE and PHE have organised a national ‘patient re-engagement exercise’ to help find and treat people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This is in response to estimates suggesting that there are tens of thousands of people with diagnosed hepatitis C infection who have not been treated and are not in current contact with treatment services in conjunction with the availability of new direct acting antiviral drugs (DAAs), which can lead to a rapid cure in the vast majority of patients.
Public Health England with its duty to monitor and control communicable diseases, has obtained Caldicott permission to share with the lead hospital clinician of operational delivery networks (ODN – a network with a central coordinating hepatology clinical service), a list of those previously diagnosed with HCV between 1996-2017, known to be alive, registered with a GP and not known to be already under specialist care or completed treatment with the new DAA.
The aim is to improve case-finding and engagement of patients to establish whether they are currently infected and would benefit from curative HCV treatment.
The ODN, The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust will be writing to advise GPs that they will be contacting their patients to offer confirmatory testing (HCV RNA) and assessment for HCV treatment. This will give GPs a 4 week window to raise any concerns they may have about the patient being contacted directly. Nothing further is required from the GPs as the ODNs will be organising testing, referrals, and treatment as necessary.
Please see the PHE GP communication, copies of GP/Patient letters, Hepatitis C patient leaflet (these can be downloaded below).
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