Despite the challenges of 2020, a truly collaborative effort between multiple stakeholders persists to keep the HCV elimination ambitions alive in England.

Watch this video to hear from a number of stakeholders about their ambitions towards HCV elimination, challenges they face and progress they are making towards this ambitious goal.

In this video, you’ll hear from Professor Graham Foster, Clinical Lead for Hepatology at Barts Health, Helen Hampton, Lead Clinical Nurse for blood-borne viruses, Dr Iain Brew, National Deputy Medical Director for Health in Justice, and Rachel Halford, CEO of the Hepatitis C Trust as they reflect on:

The major challenges in 2020

For everyone in healthcare, COVID-19 presented many challenges. Travel restrictions and limited access to patients became key hurdles to overcome to maintain efforts in the testing and treating of patients. Reaching key patient populations was complex.

These challenges required adaptive approaches – for example integrating testing as part of other services such as needle exchanges, as well as giving patients the opportunity to self-test or use postal testing. Rachel Halford said:

"In a crisis you see human beings at their best, and in this crisis we really did see human beings at their best"

Some key achievements in the HCV elimination effort in 2020

The circumstances presented by COVID-19 led to new approaches to elimination, particularly in circumstances where patients were temporarily housed in hotels and other venues.

A small number of notable achievements include:

  • The introduction of ‘whole venue’ BBV Testing Days, whereby patients were incentivised to attend meet and greet events with the Hepatitis C Trust allowed patients to get tested alongside their regular health checks.
  • An 80% uptake rate of HCV testing in one Midlands prison setting delivered by the Practice Plus Group.
  • The identification of over 100 service users who had not been tested for HCV in Lincolnshire, England, a result of an intensive two-week find and treat partnership model.

Another key achievement driven by the pandemic was the facilitation of collaboration - across patient support groups, addiction and mental health services, criminal justice, and pharmaceutical companies. Dr Iain Brew commented:

"No one organisation can solve HCV by itself […] we’ve never seen collaboration like this before, and it’s been really successful"

It’s clear the pandemic has accelerated an even stronger partnership and highly collaborative approach to HCV elimination in England. With new models, new approaches and a renewed sense of resilience, healthcare professionals, organisations and communities can continue with confidence toward the ambition of HCV elimination.

Explore more resources and case studies on elimination on Hepatic Health:

 

This article and video represent the views and opinions of the speakers themselves and not those of Gilead Sciences Ltd.

IHQ-HCV-2021-03-0003 • Date of Preparation: March 2021