GP Merrilyn Williams spoke of their success of starting treatment on 331 clients in just over a two year period, 316 who completed treatment and had the expected great outcome of cure in over 95%. Of note, their pragmatic approach to testing RNA at 4 weeks after end of treatment (rather than waiting for 12 weeks) had the support of GPs and even some specialists at the forum today. Being able to give a negative RNA result (as early as possible) to a marginalised client with low self-esteem does wonders to the person themselves. Often clients won’t be returning at SVR 12 time.
A key to the success of the team’s holistic work might be the harm reduction workers/care team who are available to assess and assist with social and mental health of the client and ensure the client has health literacy for hep C. GP Merrilyn is also encouraging clients to check on other health issues and like other health professionals Merrilyn awaits the possible introduction of point-of-care testing. Go QuIHN!
Dr Heather Dowd works as a GP with Cohealth - a large community health organisation in the west and north of Melbourne. In fact she has been working there for the past 20 years, as well as time spent working in juvenile justice health services.