Home > GPs to carry out more hepatitis C care.

[Irish Medical Times] , Lynch, Priscilla GPs to carry out more hepatitis C care. (07 Sep 2012)

External website: http://www.imt.ie/news/latest-news/2012/09/gps-to-...

The HSE’s new Hepatitis C Strategy calls for more hepatitis care to be carried out in the community by GPs.

The long-awaited national Strategy, published earlier this week, contains 36 practical recommendations aimed at improving the surveillance, testing, treatment and education of hepatitis C patients.

One of the key recommendations is the creation of a specific hepatitis C register and a standardised unique identifier as there is currently a dearth of detailed information on the epidemiology of this cohort.

The Strategy report said that delivery of hepatitis services within the primary care setting, particularly through GPs working in the addiction services, should be maximised to alleviate the burden on hospital services and to provide care to patients in a setting that is most convenient to them.

“Weekly GP visits by stable patients for methadone substitution could be linked to hepatitis C treatment and monitoring. This work would be supported and facilitated by community Hepatitis C liaison nurse specialists and by increased access to community diagnostics,” it says.

Other recommendations include providing patients, particularly those with chaotic lifestyles and other social problems, with practical supports to enable them to attend for and adhere to treatment, and addressing alcohol issues for affected hepatitis C patients.

“Improving access to treatment and supporting patients through treatment will reduce the progression from viral infection to liver damage for many patients. It should also contribute to a reduction in the prevalence of hepatitis C infection, thus reducing the associated clinical and social burden of the disease,” notes the Strategy report.

The head of the Strategy Working Group, Prof Joe Barry, Head of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Trinity College Dublin, welcomed its publication and told IMT he is confident that despite the HSE’s worsening financial situation it can be fully implemented as many of its recommendations are budget neutral.


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