Major Milestone Reached In Hepatitis C Treatment

A ground-breaking new approach to tackling hepatitis C (HCV) in North Yorkshire and Humber has reached a major milestone, with the first patients beginning their treatment journey.

A partnership between Change Grow Live, Humankind, NHS England, the Hepatitis C Trust and Spectrum has led to people receiving quicker treatment – directly from staff employed at the substance misuse service.

This treatment pathway is the first of its kind in England, where the NHS Hepatology team does not need to attend the service or see the patient before HCV treatment begins.

In May, the first person to benefit from this new multi-provider service began their treatment for HCV through North Yorkshire Horizons.

In the near future, the service is hoping to expand the scope of the new model by welcoming other drug treatment service providers from the region. It is also hoped that the model will provide a roadmap for making HCV treatment more open and accessible to everyone who needs it.

Speaking about their experience, one of the people on the new pathway with North Yorkshire Horizons said: “I’m glad to have found out I have HCV as it means it can be treated. I’m managing the medication well and have no side effects.”

Emma Newlove, Spectrum’s Clinical Lead at North Yorkshire Horizons, said, “As a clinical team, we are always striving to improve access to care for our patients. The introduction of the HCV pathway into substance misuse delivery is very exciting and already proving successful.  The development’s success has been based on partnership working, between professionals and organisations that are forward thinking and patient centred.  I would like to personally say thank you to Claire Hopkinson who, alongside running clinics and studying for her NMP qualification, has been pivotal to the development and implementation of the pathway which saw the first patient commence HCV treatment in substance misuse services in England.”

Lee Wilson, Regional Director for Humankind, said: “We are delighted to be part of this innovative new approach which will help people receive treatment more quickly and within surroundings that they are comfortable in. This project is a great example of what can be achieved when the substance use recovery sector works together. We’re grateful to Change Grow Live, NHSE, the Hepatitis C Trust and Spectrum Community Health CIC for partnering with us to support the people who use our services in this way.”