A Summary of Evidence from the Hepatitis C elimination Inquiry held by the cross-party Scottish Hepatitis C Parliamentary Champions group and The Hepatitis C Trust.
As committed advocates for the elimination of hepatitis C, we are proud that Scotland has been considered a leader in global efforts to tackle this deadly virus. Successive Scottish Governments have, with cross-party support, ensured that ever-increasing numbers of people in Scotland are tested, diagnosed, treated and cured. With the widespread availability and decreasing cost of all-oral treatments which cure over 95% of people, more people than ever before are accessing hepatitis C care.
Eliminating a public health issue that disproportionately affects some of the poorest and most marginalised groups in our society is an extraordinary and eminently achievable opportunity. However, if Scotland is to achieve elimination of hepatitis C by 2030, in line with our commitment to the World Health Organization (WHO) targets, we must renew our political will. Through this elimination inquiry we have heard about the challenges to achieving our shared goal of elimination. Large numbers of people are still undiagnosed, and only a small percentage of those infected receive treatment each year. With the benefits of reduced timelines and simplified delivery of treatment comes the renewed challenge of diagnosing thousands of infected people, many of whom will be more difficult to find.
Overly complex care pathways create barriers to accessing treatment, and fragmented, short-term funding models mean there are still waiting lists for treatment in some areas.
Despite these challenges, we remain optimistic. Across the country, the infrastructure, mechanisms, and enthusiasm to improve awareness, prevention, and treatment already exist. What we need now is bold national leadership to co-ordinate, incentivise, and drive innovative practice in finding, diagnosing, and treating new patients. We hope this report will be a first step. This report brings together the views of leading clinicians, services, charities and patients who participated in our inquiry. Their contributions have told us how we can begin to realise this extraordinary opportunity. We are united in our belief that a hepatitis C-free Scotland is achievable, and in our commitment to working together to make it a reality.
To view the full report, please click the following link.