Mersey Care becomes first NHS Trust to eliminate Hepatitis C for more than six months

Mersey Care becomes first NHS Trust to eliminate Hepatitis C for more than six months featured image

Mersey Care’s community drug and alcohol addictions team has achieved a unique landmark by becoming the only Trust in the UK to eliminate Hepatitis C from their service users and maintained elimination for more than six months.

The team, based at Brook Place in Liverpool, has now been free of Hepatitis C within their service users for the last eight months. It’s a virus which can cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver and is particularly common among more deprived communities, including those who have a history of substance abuse.

They reached such a consistency by testing almost everyone registered with the service, no matter what risks they have been exposed to, and regularly reviewing their risk status and date of their last test.

“All our Brook Place staff have been retrained on Hep C understanding, testing and offering harm reduction advice and risk of re-infection prevention information,” explained Hayley Curran, Recovery Co-ordinator at Brook Place. “That includes giving out safe needle exchange cards that we created and offering advice on not sharing equipment like toothbrushes, razors and pipes.

“It’s a remarkable achievement and has taken a lot of hard work from everyone who works in the team. We know the virus is at its lowest levels in this country for 10 years, but the discipline required to eliminate it from our service users for eight months is really exceptional.”

Maintaining the elimination of Hep C has been a collaborative approach with Gilead Sciences, Hepatitis C U Later, the Hepatitis C Trust and Mersey Care’s Operational Delivery Network nurse, who is based at the Royal site of Liverpool University Hospital. The joined up approach has proved vital in providing the best standard of care to patients.

According to the latest figures provided by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) last year, Hepatitis C is most common among some of the most deprived areas in the country, so eliminating the virus helps towards Mersey Care’s aim of reducing health inequalities.

This helps improve the service users’ physical health and increases positive outcomes, which also aids their recovery from substance abuse by becoming more in control of their health and care provided.

The highly specialist team at Brook Place also provide a wide variety of services and are not, despite common belief, just a substitute prescriber. They provide a recovery focused service to people living in Liverpool who have problems using opiates and deliver clinics for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Spirometry testing, Hep C testing, sexual health and wound care.

There is a long list of other services that are provided from Brook Place and further information can be found on their specialised webpage on the Mersey Care website.

  • Leadership and Management
  • Leadership and Management > Quality and Performance
  • Leadership and Management > Quality and Performance > QI
  • Hep C U later
Download acrobat reader