I attended the Treating Hepatitis C in General Practice Forum in Adelaide, thanks to a scholarship I received from ASHM and The Kirby Institute. The Forum addressed the goal of hepatitis C elimination by 2030, and the number of people who still need to be treated to achieve this goal. It focused on how to increase Hepatitis C treatment in general practice, and delivered useful information how to overcome barriers in our clinics.

All the speakers were wonderful. They shared their experiences in treating patients with hepatitis C and provided motivational stories to us. 

 

I was impressed with Dr Annie Balcomb who runs a GP-led Hep C clinic in a rural area. I learnt about her model of care: using a long appointment to take detailed history, re-infection risk assessment, assessing barriers and arranging for follow up, utilising nurses input, etc.

Watch Dr Annie Balcomb’s presentation here

After listening to Dr Joss O’Loan and Dr Matt Young talk about their Kombi Clinic, their hard work blew me away and I realised that if patients cannot come to us, we must go and find them - especially homeless people. I heard about the Kombi Clinic 3 years ago while I was working in Newcastle but did not know exactly how they use the Kombi Clinic to deliver care until the Forum. Their work motivated me sign up for the Aus GPS End Hep C pledge. 

Watch Dr Joss O’Loan and Dr Matt Young’s presentation here

View and sign the Aus GPs End Hep C pledge here

I have become more confident in assessing cirrhosis and in managing patients with hepatitis C with cirrhosis in liaison with specialist. I also learned new treatment options including pangenotypic antivirals that help me initiate patients on treatment. 

Dr Nada Andric delivered a presentation on 8 Easy Steps to Increase HCV treatment. Her 8 steps are very useful. There are barriers for treatment success (especially in mentally ill patients and non-compliant patients) which we can improve with recall systems and by scheduling follow up appointments, utilising clinic nurses, and connecting with local pharmacists.

Watch Dr Nada Andric’s presentation here

Since attending the GP Forum I have shared the knowledge that I learned with other GPs at our clinic and have discussed it with clinic manager & nurses. We have implemented a recall system, put posters in our waiting rooms, are proactively offering screening tests to high risk patients, and arranging to do audits. 

Thanks to ASHM and all the speakers who gave me more confidence in treating hepatitis C in my GP clinic.

Author bio:

Dr Ivy Louise Su is a general practitioner based in Sydney.