Fantastic First Ever Australian Hepatitis C in General Practice Forum held in Adelaide 2018

It is now nearly three months since the first national 'Treating Hepatitis C in General Practice Forum' was held in Adelaide. I was lucky enough to be a member of the organising committee which included GPs from across Australia. 

 On reflection, highlights from the day-long event included: 

  • Having 50 GPs from across Australia in a room, with a mix of experience from novice to experienced HCV prescriber, to share information and experiences. It was great having a few HCV specialists in the room providing the latest information and evidence. The feedback from the day was so positive that we are hoping it will become an annual event.  

  • The important role GPs can play in the whole person viral hepatitis disease management, from detecting the 30-40,000 people living with chronic HCV not yet diagnosed, to one stop shop GP HCV assessment and DAA treatment for most, and the important long term role monitoring of those with cirrhosis. 

  • Hearing about some of the exciting outreach GP led models or care that are rolling out across Australia.
  • Launching the ‘Aus GPs End Hep C Pledge’ was a great moment. For those not yet aware, the aim of the pledge is to increase from the current 10 % of GP’s in Australia having written a DAA script, to 20% in 2020.  In the longer term the commitment is to raise the proportion of DAA scripts being written by GPs to 75% by 2025 and to raise the absolute number of patients with HCV being treated by GPs to more than 10,000 per year by 2025. Quite a task, but possible if we support all our colleagues to be involved. The WHO goal is to eradicate chronic HCV as a global public health threat by 2030.   

Since the Adelaide forum I was privileged to travel to Portugal and speak at the STLC summit on GP prescribing of DAA treatment in Australia. A few of the GPs attending (one from Spain and another from Switzerland) are interested in holding the first ever International GP HCV Forum in 2019 before the INSHU conference. So watch this space!!  

Globally the message is being spread that "There Will Be No Hepatitis C Elimination without GP Participation.” 

Click here to sign the Aus GPs End Hep C Pledge

Author bio:

Dr Annie Balcomb has been involved in chronic hepatitis C management in rural NSW since 2008, initially as part of a multidisciplinary team based located within an opiate replacement service as an S100 GP prescriber. Since 2016 she has run a dedicated viral hepatitis clinic based in a primary care setting.