( A report back from Dr Matt Young - Liberating Medeco Inala from Hep C. A study of micro-elimination in primary care - Treating Hepatitis C in General Practice Forum)

Previously Inala had the highest prevalence of hepatitis C in Australia, including high numbers of patients with double genotype. However more than 55% of the patients were not referred for treatment and of the ones who were referred only few started the treatment. Some of the reasons for not starting treatment included cost, self-efficacy, fear of stigma and judgment from staff.

There was a liberation in Inala when 250 patients from the methadone clinic were screened for Hepatitis C by a GP practice. Of the 250 screened 188 had a positive RNA test result and 133 patients were then treated. 85% of these patients were able to be treated by GPs. 

Dr Matt Young showed how we can shift the treatment from specialists and public hospitals to a GP environment and by reducing the factors that interfere with patient access to medication we will improve treatment rate. Some examples of this include reducing the number of consults for prescribing DAAs, quick and easy access to blood tests and fibroscans and reducing patient costs.  

It is also necessary to educate GPs about hepatitis C. There is a lack of knowledge regarding diagnosis and treatment with around 88% of GPs never having prescribed DAA’s. A lot of GPs also believe their patients don’t have or aren’t at risk of hepatitis C.  

The process of hepatitis C cure must be start immediately. Treating earlier means less complications and lowers risk of transmission. 

 

Author Bio: 

Letitia Figueiredo moved from Brazil eight years ago after finishing her paediatrics residency training. She came to Australia looking for a place where she could have a better quality of life. She started working as a GP five years ago, and since then has fallen in love with general practice.