Health Innovation Manchester helping to eliminate Hepatitis C across Greater Manchester

A test-tube labelled 'Hepatitis C Test' being held by a healthcare worker.

Over the last two years, Health Innovation Manchester’s Elimination of Hepatitis C programme has seen the deployment of innovative rapid point of care testing and rapid treatment into prison settings, drug and alcohol services, the community, and hospitals to support the elimination of this disease as a public health issue in our population.

Following an initial pilot, the project implemented testing and treatment on the wider population groups at high risk of infection and a rapid testing and treatment regime was employed for those in or entering prison.

This work was delivered in partnership between Health Innovation Manchester, North Manchester General Hospital, HMP Styal and Spectrum Health, with the new pathway aiming to improve individual experience, reduce the time from test to treatment and improve adherence to treatment.

Even during the the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Innovation Manchester and partners have remained committed to delivering this programme by undertaking point of care testing in prisons and via direct community outreach projects.

To date, approximately 7,000 tests have been undertaken, resulting in 1,200 people receiving curative treatment, spread evenly across each pathway. Several prisons across Greater Manchester have now effectively eliminated Hepatitis C, with over 95% of prisoners being tested and over 90% are treated.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Greater Manchester is now one of the best performing areas of the UK in eliminating Hepatitis C, which has seen this programme of work receive nomination and commendation at national awards, including a nomination for a HSJ Value Award in 2020.

The programme was initiated under the Greater Manchester MoU, with the ABPI and involves an industry consortium of MSD, Gilead and AbbVie.

Prof. Andy Ustianowski, Consultant in Infectious Diseases & Tropical Medicine and NIHR Joint National Infection Specialty Lead, said: “Since the start of this project we have been able to significantly decrease the burden of Hepatitis C and helped thousands of residents across Greater Manchester to overcome and be successfully treated for this disease, whilst delivering improved outcomes for the wider health and care sector.

“Looking back at the overall progress that has been made during the last two-years proves that this partnership work with industry can have a profound impact on the delivery of care for patients across the city-region. I believe that this work has made a lasting impact on Greater Manchester.”

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