DDN_March_2024 DDN March 2024 | Page 15

Since 2015 , more than 80,000 individuals have been treated for hepatitis C ... and England is on track to deliver its ambition to eliminate infections and reduce mortality .
hospital-based systems just don ’ t work . This support ranges from education and de-stigmatisation to help getting to appointments or receiving medication . Peers are embedded across the pathway from the drug service to the NHS to take individuals from test to treatment , including harm reduction to reduce the risks of reinfection . ‘ They are critical to the success of the Provider Forum , helping to centre the voice of the patient and to work more closely with the NHS ,’ says Emma Lamond of WithYou .
Treatment has become much more flexible since 2016 , with NHS liver networks doing everything they can to bring care to people where they are , be it in drug services , in their homes , hostels , and even on street corners through NHS England funded community vans . ‘ The NHS has been fantastic in the way they have partnered with community organisations to make elimination a tangible goal . As our drug service partners have ramped up their testing , they ’ ve increased the pace of treatment to match ,’ says William McCully . ‘ This pace of testing and treatment is incredibly important in infectious diseases , which often hit the most vulnerable populations the hardest . Given our focus on diseases like HIV and viral hepatitis , Gilead is committed to advancing health equity in the patient groups we serve .’
When you consider the individuals who are receiving treatment , this is much more than an elimination programme . Mark Gillyon-Powell is incredibly keen to highlight the health inequality benefits , particularly given his dual role leading on HCV elimination and health inequalities in NHS England . ‘ We support individuals who are experiencing a range of different health inequality issues that might prevent access to any kind of health service . We have a patient focus and put the service where the patient is rather than the other way around . The most deprived communities have received 80 % of the treatment that has been provided for hepatitis C , so we know that we ’ re reaching people with this approach .’
Since 2015 , more than 80,000 individuals have been treated for hepatitis C through all NHS
The Provider Forum won Best Healthcare Analytics Project for the NHS at the 2023 Health Service Journal Partnership Awards . Pictured left to right , standing : Aneesha Noona , NHSE ; Peter Smethurst , Gilead Sciences ; Tracey Kemp , Change Grow Live ; Emma Lamond , WithYou ; Deanne Burch , Hep C U Later ; Matt Milner , Gilead Sciences ; Deborah Moores , Humankind ; Veronique Walsh , Gilead Sciences ; Mark Gillyon-Powell , NHSE . Front row , left to right , Marlon Freeman , Via and William McCully , Gilead Sciences .
England ’ s elimination initiatives and England is on track to deliver its ambition to eliminate infections and reduce mortality . 4 , 5 We have seen prevalence decrease by 51.6 per cent since 2015 , with a two-thirds reduction in HCV-related liver transplants and a 34 per cent reduction in mortality from HCV-related end stage liver disease and hepatic carcinomas . 6 , 7 There are also non-clinical benefits , with people treated for HCV reporting reduced drug use , increased employment and improved mental health . 8
These population health benefits lead to a call for local action once the national programme ends . Laura Hughes of Hep C U Later highlights the need for commissioners to engage . ‘ Integrated Care Boards need to look at the wider system and commissioners need to be involved in this as a way of supporting and sustaining elimination . This is not just for the benefit of people who are affected by HCV , but more broadly across liver health and the impact on wider social determinants of health inequalities .’
It isn ’ t just national to local – it is also national to global . There is evidence for other countries to take up this model , according to Marlon Freeman of Via . ‘ The Provider Forum recently shared our model with drug services in Wales and I think we were able to show how partnership across providers can be done successfully . This could be a template for any country in the world with a national health service .’ Reflecting on milestones to
Scan the QR code to learn more about HCV elimination in drug services and the Provider Forum , or to access resources to support your service to achieve and sustain HCV elimination .
date , with more than 40 drug service site micro-eliminations so far , the Provider Forum calls for continued and expanded partnership . Dawn Baker from Turning Point encourages new members to join . ‘ We ’ ve never been closer to achieving our shared goal of HCV elimination , and we ’ ll get there with the collaborative efforts of all our partners . We ’ re keen to build our membership and invite other providers to join the Forum . With everyone ’ s involvement , we ’ ll get there even faster .’
This article was developed and funded by Gilead .
1 https :// www . who . int / healthtopics / hepatitis / elimination-ofhepatitis-by-2030 2 https :// www . england . nhs .
uk / 2019 / 04 / nhs-england-strikesworld-leading-deal-to-helpeliminate-hepatitis-c /
3 https :// www . gov . uk / government / publications / hepatitis-c-in-the-uk
4 https :// www . gov . uk / government / news / chronic-hepatitis-c-cases-inengland-fall-by-half-since-2015
5 https :// www . england . nhs . uk / 2022 / 12 / nhs-set-toeliminate-hepatitis-c-ahead-ofrest-of-the-world / 6 https :// www . gov . uk / government /
publications / hepatitis-c-in-the-uk / hepatitis-c-in-england-2023 7 https :// www . england . nhs .
uk / 2022 / 12 / nhs-set-toeliminate-hepatitis-c-ahead-ofrest-of-the-world / 8 Torrens M , et al . BMC Infectious
Diseases 2020 ; 20:702 . https :// doi . org / 10.1186 / s12879-020-05426-4