Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which affects and damages the liver. It is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact such as; sharing unsterilised needles and/or drug paraphernalia, unsterilised tattooing and piercing equipment, blood transfusions pre 1992, medical/dental work received in some countries outside of the UK, among other routes of transmission. Sufferers may have no idea they are infected so along with ensuring the right messages are getting out to people, regular testing and monitoring is very important.
The Wessex Clinical Outreach Van is a pioneering project headed up by Inclusion, an NHS community drugs and alcohol misuse service, and Hep C U Later, a partnership between the NHS Addictions Provider Alliance and Gilead Sciences which is working to eliminate Hepatitis C.
The project works across a vast geographical area with the support of local authority, health and voluntary sector partners.
The Wessex Clinical Van will be at the following locations:
Monday 26th July: Basingstoke and Winchester
The Wessex Clinical Van will be located at Inclusion Basingstoke, Jacobs Yard car park.
Clinicians will also be located outside of Boots Winchester on that day.
With support from Boots Pharmacy, Clinicians are able to use a space in the pharmacy to offer testing for Hepatitis C.
Tuesday 27th July: Salisbury
The Wessex Clinical van will be located in the Salisbury Market Square supporting Salisbury Substance Misuse Services.
Wednesday 28th July: Ringwood and the New Forest
The Wessex Clinical Van will be located in the Main Furlong car park in Ringwood.
In addition to this, clinicians will be based in Inclusion service sites across the New Forest.
Thursday 29th July: Hayling Island
The Wessex Clinical Van will be located in the Hayling Island Community Centre car park.
Friday 30th July: Portsmouth
The Wessex Clinical Van will be located in Arundel Street, a pedestrianised area in Portsmouth City.
The clinical outreach van service promotes health equality by enabling clinicians to reach patients who are not currently engaged with services and providing access to specialist services for those who find it difficult to travel to existing locations.
What with this all-inclusive resource and increased effectiveness of new drugs that are available to treat Hepatitis C, we continue to strive to leave no one behind in our work towards elimination of Hepatitis C.
Mark Wright, Lead Consultant Wessex Operational Delivery Network said:
“Many of the people we would like to help are unable to access traditional hospital services. The clinical van service engages these people and supports them in their rightful access to treatment. Without this service they would once again be excluded and would be denied treatment for a life-threatening condition”.