NHS reforms put hepatitis C services and patient care at risk
A report endorsed by the British Liver Trust and the Hepatitis C Trust
published this month has highlighted how poor hepatitis C services in the UK are compared to Europe. This highlights concerns about declining treatment rates
and the affect NHS reforms could have on hepatitis treatment services.
Research findings for hepatitis C in the UK
Shocking figures from the report show:
- A 300% increase in hepatitis C deaths associated with end-stage liver disease or liver cancer from 1996 to 2010
- An estimated 15,840 people developing cirrhosis or liver cancer from hepatitis C in England by 2020, if they do not receive treatment
- An increase in how many people in the UK have hepatitis C to 370,000 by 2035
- Associated annual healthcare costs of the virus rising from £83million annually to £115million by 2035
- 4,200 needing transplants by 2020 if they do not receive treatment - a liver transplant currently costs £50,000 if a donor can even be found
Report's recommendations to improve patient care
To improve hepatitis C services
and patient care in the UK, the report suggests:
- Improving the rates of diagnosis and treatment
- Helping commissioners and clinicians to reduce the financial burden of the virus on the health service
- Encouraging localised, innovative approaches to services that improve patient outcomes with effective and early interventions
Charles Gore, Chief Executive of the Hepatitis C Trust, commented that during this time of reform it was important for all involved in healthcare to make hepatitis C a priority
. He added: "Through rethinking the design and delivery of services, we can help ensure patients receive early, effective treatment and reduce the significant costs
to the health service and society more widely."
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