Glasgow is at the forefront of the NHS’s battle to beat hepatitis C, with an average of 11 patients being diagnosed in the area each week last year – a third of all new cases in Scotland.
An estimated 593 of all the 1,821 new cases of the disease diagnosed in Scotland last year occurred in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, compared with 307 new cases in Lothian, figures from Health Protection Scotland show.1
The number of new cases of Hepatitis C, which can lead to serious liver disease and death, fell slightly last year from 2,024 in 2014, after two consecutive annual increases, but there was still an estimated cumulative total of 38,577 patients in Scotland with the virus as at 31 December 2015, 38% of whom (14,718) were in the Glasgow area.1
Scotland is regarded as a world leader when it comes to treating hepatitis C. 2 The Scottish Government has committed to the elimination of the virus, through an Action Plan launched in 20063 and more recently a framework which committed to treating at least 1,500 people per year until 2020.2 It has also introduced national clinical guidelines on the treatment of the condition in adults.4
The framework also introduced measures to increase the number of people tested and diagnosed including an opt-out system for Hepatitis C testing among prisoners, who are at higher risk of the virus.2
Ms Fiona Marra, Senior Pharmacist HIV/HCV, NHS Scotland said: “Now that we have tolerable treatments with high cure rates for a wide range of people with hepatitis C in Glasgow, we need to ensure that people living with the virus are diagnosed and treated earlier to stop further progression and transmission of the disease.”
More information about hepatitis C can be found at http://www.hepctrust.org.uk/information.