A COMMUNITY-based alcohol and drug treatment service in Thurrock is playing a leading part in helping to eliminate hepatitis C.
Inclusion Visions Thurrock, part of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT), is the first NHS service to have met challenging new criteria set down by the Hep C Drug Treatment Service Provider Forum, in achieving ‘micro-elimination’ of the virus within its service.
This means that within Inclusion Visions Thurrock:
- 100% of service users in structured treatment have been offered hepatitis C test
- 100% of service users in structured treatment who have a history of injecting have had a least 1 test
- 90% of service users in structured treatment who have an injecting history who may still be at risk have had a test in the last 12 months
- 90% of service users in structured treatment who have hepatitis C have commenced treatment.
The service has put in place steps to ensure it can continue to meet this target and do its part in eliminating hep C globally through partnership working, health events and service user involvement; and in the process, positively impact the lives of its service users by ensuring the best possible care and lowering the risk of liver disease.
Inclusion Visions Thurrock is part of a global effort to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030, with a national elimination aim of 2025 and is working in partnership with Hep C U Later, a collaboration between the NHS Addiction Providers Alliance, Gilead Sciences and NHS England’s HCV Programme.
Danny Hames, Head of Inclusion services for MPFT said: “It is fantastic to see the Inclusion Visions Thurrock service making such great progress in the elimination of hep C. This initiative is already saving lives and enabling those treated to feel well and move forward positively.”
Deanne Burch, Lead for Hep C U Later said: “What the Inclusion Thurrock team have achieved is not easy. It demonstrates the hard work, compassion and level of commitment from the whole team in reaching this milestone and I am confident the team will be able to maintain their micro-elimination status moving forward.”
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that most commonly affects the liver and is spread through blood-to-blood contact, such as sharing drug injecting equipment. Intravenous drug use is the most common way to contract the virus and it is estimated around half of people who inject drugs in England have, at some point, been infected. Hep C doesn’t always have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. As a result, a person may have the virus without realising it.