GPs Urged to ‘Be Ready’ for Further Burst of Hepatitis C Awareness Advertising

GP’s are being encouraged to offer their support to a further burst of press and radio advertising to raise awareness and increase testing and diagnosis of hepatitis C. The Department of Health and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) are encouraging GPs to continue to get informed about the virus and support the drive to diagnose those patients unknowingly carrying the virus, which can cause serious liver disease.

The advertising campaign, launched this week, invites the public initially to self-assess their risk of having hepatitis C by alerting them to the varied transmission routes for the virus and to seek medical advice if they believe themselves to have been at risk of infection.

The virus itself poses a particular challenge to health professionals as many patients with chronic hepatitis C infection fail to show any symptoms of infection for many years. Highlighting the risk factors for the virus, therefore, can increase the likelihood of affected members of the public seeking medical advice on the need for testing. There is effective drug therapy to treat hepatitis C recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence that can prevent progression to serious liver disease so it is important that patients who may be infected are offered testing.

Dr Chris Ford, Member of the Sex, Drugs & HIV Task Group at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said, "The launch of the advertising campaign is a timely reminder to GPs and their practice teams to be mindful of this very serious virus. The RCGP fully supports the Department of Health's campaign to raise awareness of hepatitis C and believes that GPs play a key role in preventing its spread and increasing diagnosis. We would urge all GPs to view hepatitis C as a serious health concern ensure they are fully aware of the transmission routes, diagnostic process and prognosis of the virus, and to be mindful of it when interacting with patients."

The advertising campaign is running for an initial four-week period prior to Christmas and is expected to be repeated in early 2008. Adverts will appear across national newspapers and regional radio stations.

There is a suite of free hepatitis C information resources available to GPs and practice nurses including waiting room posters, patient leaflets, and a briefing pack for healthcare professionals, by contacting the Department of Health’s publication line on 08701 555 455, emailing or visiting

The advertising campaign forms part of the Department of Health’s hepatitis C awareness campaign ‘FaCe It’, which aims to raise awareness of the virus and its prevention, diagnosis and treatment, while tackling the stigma often attached to it.


For more information please contact Leigh Morrison or Simon Goldsborough on 020 7815 3900 or email

Notes to Editors:

  • For more information about Department of Health policy on hepatitis C please contact the Media Centre on 020 7210 5221.
  • Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that can lead to serious liver damage (cirrhosis and primary liver cancer). It is recognised as a significant public health problem worldwide. In England, it is estimated that there are approximately 200,000 people chronically infected and that the majority of these are probably unaware of their infection.  There is currently no vaccine against hepatitis C, so prevention of new infections is particularly important. There is effective antiviral drug treatment, that has been approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).  Lifestyle changes, in particular decreasing alcohol intake, can delay the onset of liver disease.
  • The Department of Health’s hepatitis C awareness campaign (“FaCe It”) supports the Hepatitis C Action Plan for England, which seek to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C. The Action Plan is available on the DH website at: and
  • The first burst of press and radio advertising took place in February and March 2007.

Healthcare Republic does not have an editorial influence or input in to these press releases. The views expressed within these documents are not endorsed by Healthcare Republic or Haymarket Medical Publications Limited.

Enquiries should be directed to any contacts listed within the press releases.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Houses of Parliament

GP partnerships 'like collapsing Jenga stack' after Javid threat to nationalise practices

Sajid Javid's decision to back a report calling for the end of the GMS contract within...

£20 notes spread out

VAT trap for PCNs could strip millions of pounds from general practice

Tens of millions of pounds could be stripped from general practice because work carried...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Is the BMA representing GPs effectively, why GPs face a pension tax hit, and views on the workload crisis

In our regular news review the team discusses representation of GPs, a new survey...

Man sleeping

NICE guidance on insomnia backs app to replace sleeping pills

Hundreds of thousands of people with insomnia could be offered treatment via a mobile...

Health worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine

JCVI backs autumn COVID-19 booster campaign for high-risk adults and NHS staff

Frontline health and social care staff and adults at increased risk of severe illness...

GP consultation

Government accused of 'misleading' claims on general practice workforce

GP leaders have accused the government of making misleading claims about the general...