On the 27th of June, ASHM successfully held a national roundtable for Nurses as a follow-up to the recommendations report released from the national roundtable in 2021 on hepatitis C treatment for people without access to Medicare.
Funded by Queensland Health, this session aimed to progress the recommendations through hearing the voices of Nurses and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) across Australia working with Medicare ineligible patients. Nurses are at the forefront of clinical care, often having conversations with people about their hepatitis C and whether they are eligible or ineligible to access treatment and cure. The roundtable provided an opportunity for Nurses to share concerns and strategies and reflect on earlier recommendations.
The Roundtable ran as a series of presentations, a panel discussion, and small discussion groups. Facilitated by Sinead Sheils, Hepatology Nurse Practitioner at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, attendees heard from a range of presenters including Shelley Kerr, Hepatitis C Program Manager at ASHM, Marrianne Black, Registered Nurse & Management and Treatment Coordinator at Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ), Burglind Liddle, Nurse Practitioner Chronic Diseases-Hepatology at Mater Health, and Andrea Turner, Infectious Diseases Case Manager at Mater Health.
There was a great turnout of attendees for this virtual roundtable. Discussions followed a series of facilitator led questions around the current pathways of care for Medicare ineligible patients and the health system changes to enhance care.
Emerging themes included transparency and reviewing eligibility criteria for the compassionate access scheme, cost-effective analyses for treatment of this cohort, data gaps, along with the continuation of advocacy to government and industry to have hepatitis C treatment and cure accessible to all.
If you are interested in being involved in furthering the policy and advocacy response for hepatitis C treatment access to Medicare-ineligible people, please contact hepatitisC@ashm.org.au.