CGL Richmond Integrated Recovery Service is leading the way for drug services across the country in the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C.
NHS England aims to eliminate hepatitis C as a major public health threat by 2025. Change Grow Live aims to eradicate hep C in our drug and alcohol services by 2023. To help break this down locally, we are using a new approach called ‘micro-elimination’. This will apply to any service user who has ever injected a drug, and involves:
- 100% of service users offered a test
- 90% accept test and are tested
- 75% of those diagnosed start hep C treatment
Jennifer Hannon, the Lead Nurse in Change Grow Live Richmond, has a background in Hepatology/Liver Transplant nursing and joined the service in 2016. When she started, there were 26 people using the service who were known to have active hepatitis C. The most common route for transmission of the hepatitis C virus in the UK is through intravenous drug use.
Jen and the Service Manager, Simon Holmes, developed a working relationship with St George’s Trust and Queen Mary’s hospital, which are both local to the Richmond service. Led by Consultant Hepatologist Dr Daniel Forton and Viral Hepatitis Clinical Nurse Specialist Beverly Edwards, St George’s Trust treated 16 of the 26 patients in the hospital. However, treatment within a hospital setting can prove challenging for people with drug or alcohol addiction. To treat these people, Dr Forton, Beverly and Jen joined forces to set up a hepatitis C clinic based at Change Grow Live Richmond. This onsite clinic is one of the first of its kind, and began in May 2018. Since then, 164 people have been tested for hep C, with 29 being found to need treatment.
The team then used a method of capillary blood testing championed by St George’s Trust which is quick and non-invasive, a huge bonus for the patients. This onsite service virtually removed the need for people to be seen in the hospital.
More patients were diagnosed, and everyone who needed treatment and remained engaged with Change Grow Live for drug/alcohol treatment were successfully treated for their hepatitis C. Only one patient re-located, and continued their treatment with a different Trust.
This partnership between a Change Grow Live service and the NHS is an example of how much we can achieve when we work together. Change Grow Live now have onsite hep C clinics in over 85% of our services, and aim to repeat the success of Richmond for the benefit of their service users and communities.
Come and visit the team in Richmond on Friday 26 of July. Contact Jackie.Howe@cgl.org.uk for details.
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