Hopes to eradicate Hep C in Glasgow set out

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde sets itself target as it treats record numbers

Wednesday 1st May 2019

Scotland’s largest health board has set itself the target of eradicating hepatitis C in a decade.

Last year, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde treated more than 1,200 people for the condition, a virus spread by contact with infected blood that can cause life-threatening liver damage.

Medical advances mean 95% of cases can be cured with daily tablets that produce no significant side effects.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of public health at the board, said: “Our mantra is test, treat, eliminate and through this, everyone involved in the care of patients who may have hepatitis C can play their part in preventing related liver disease, by offering a simple blood test.

“Our staff deserve enormous credit not only for being able to engage with so many people affected, but also for getting so many tested and into treatment.”

NHS Glasgow & Clyde says everyone with the condition is eligible for treatment and drug or alcohol use does not stop anyone accessing treatment.

Officials are now urging people who have injected drugs to get themselves tested as the condition is often symptomless until liver damage occurs.

Dr Stephen Barclay, a Glasgow & Clyde consultant gastroenterologist, explained: “We know that there are thousands of people in the board area who are living with hepatitis C, but are unaware.

“The infection may cause no symptoms for many years until serious liver disease or cancer develops. In NHSGGC the risk is mainly amongst people who have used drugs, regardless of how long ago.

“We encourage anyone who has been at risk to get tested and treated which is a much easier process now.”