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Inclusion, a part of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is taking a leading role in a new initiative aimed at eliminating Hepatitis C.

The initiative has been developed by the NHS Substance Providers Alliance (NHS SMPA) with Gilead Life Sciences, as part of the NHS England procurement with life science companies to eliminate Hepatitis C. 

A founder member of the NHS SPMA, Inclusion will be the prime contractor and will lead initiatives to ensure best practice and resources are shared across partner trusts with the aim of increasing access, treatment and elimination of Hepatitis C.

The aim is to treat and cure over 6,000 additional patients and eliminate the condition five years before the World Health Organisation target date of 2028 by driving widespread implementation of best practice.

The programme will build upon current innovative practice such as Inclusion Hampshire’s award winning P2P peer engagement project, and continue to develop the effective work many NHS drug and alcohol services currently provide.

By collaborating and working in partnership with organisations from other sectors the programme aims to amplify the positive impact NHS services can have on the health and wellbeing of those it treats and supports.

A social marketing campaign, Hep C U Later, will also be implemented and supported with the aim of raising awareness about Hepatitis C and finding, testing and treating patients as efficiently as possible.

Danny Hames, Head of Inclusion & Sexual Health and Chair of NHS SMPA said “Building on the local Hepatitis C elimination programmes our Members have piloted in their individual services, we are thrilled to be working with NHS England and Gilead on this innovative partnership project which will ensure that service users who have contracted Hep C are tested, treated and cured quickly and in line with evidenced best practice.”

The project has been shortlisted for a national Health Service Journal Award in the Partnership of the Year category.

NB:  What is Hep C?

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which most commonly affects the liver. Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact, such as sharing unsterilised needles. Intravenous drug use is the most common way to contract the virus and it is estimated that around half of people who inject drugs in England have, at some point, been infected. Hepatitis C doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. As a result, a person may have the virus without realising it.

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