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Update - Audit reveals little progress on DH action plan for hepatitis C patients

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VOL: 102, ISSUE: 24, PAGE NO: 41

The Department of Health's Hepatitis C Action Plan for England is not working, according to the results of an audit that has recently been published by the government All-Party Parliamentary Hepatology Group.

The Department of Health's Hepatitis C Action Plan for England is not working, according to the results of an audit that has recently been published by the government All-Party Parliamentary Hepatology Group.

The audit of 305 PCTs and 165 hospital trusts was conducted in February 2006. Of the 191 PCTs that responded, only 8% had implemented the action plan, while 36% had made little progress. Out of the 107 hospitals responding, 46% reported significant delays of up to a year for patients who required treatment.

A report this year from the Hepatitis C Trust and SouthamptonUniversity, TheUKvsEurope. Ready to Fight Back, has recommended that the government should now develop a strategy for managing hepatitis C that has detailed targets for detection and treatment, and that a representative from the DH should lead the strategy development. The report also calls for improved diagnostic services and for rapid referral and treatment pathways.

A hepatitis C strategy had been published in August 2002 by the Department of Health, but an action plan was not published until July 2004. At the time of publication, the All-Party Parliamentary Hepatology Group expressed concerns that the action plan did not have targets or a timetable.

Hepatitis is a blood-borne virus that can lead to severe and potentially fatal liver disease and to liver cancer.

A Matter of Chance. An audit of Hepatitis C Healthcare in England and The UK vs Europe. Ready toFight Back can be accessed at www.hepcuk.info/data/


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