Call for faster Hep C care

Treating hepatitis C will cost the NHS up to £8 billion over the next 30 years unless testing and early treatment is made more available, according to the RCGP.

It is hoped that guidance launched by the RCGP last week will increase awareness among GPs regarding prevention of hepatitis C transmission, along with improved testing, diagnosis and treatment for patients who are already infected.

It is estimated that there are between 250,000 and 600,000 hepatitis C suffers in the UK.

Only 17 per cent of sufferers have been diagnosed and only one in 20 of those diagnosed are being treated each year.

North-west London GP Dr Chris Ford, lead author of the guidance and a member of the RCGP sex, drugs and HIV task group, said that it was important for GPs to learn more about the disease because it was likely that every GP would have eight to 18 hepatitis C sufferers on their list.

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