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

Just published

Medical centre sign

GP service charges cut by up to £400,000 in 'groundbreaking' legal case

Six-figure service charge fees that threatened practices' survival have been reduced...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: How rising costs are adding to pressure on UK practices, plus has the ARRS met its target?

In our regular news review the team discusses calls for emergency funding to support...

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

GPs invite Starmer for talks after criticism of partnership model

Senior GPs have urged Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to meet them for talks to 'shape...

NHS sign

GPs risk being 'left behind' by plan to fix NHS pension discrimination

GPs could be left behind by plans to fix unlawful age discrimination under the NHS...

Woman using a laptop

How virtual training can support GPs to develop their personalised care skills

GP Dr Priti Kadoo explains how the Personalised Care Institute's new 'virtual patient'...

Blood test in a lab

Blood test for multiple cancers can diagnose two-thirds of cases, study suggests

A blood test for more than 50 types of cancer has been found to correctly diagnose...