Our Commitment to Eliminating Hepatitis C
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver: one of the most common causes of hepatitis is a viral infection. Hepatitis C is a virus that can cause long lasting infection and is transmitted when blood from an infected person gets into the bloodstream of another. The most common way of transmitting hepatitis C is through sharing injecting equipment.
Hepatitis C is more prevalent in the prison population than the community – one of the many health inequalities that patients within this setting can experience. A custodial sentence can offer the ideal opportunity to treat hepatitis C in a patient population that might otherwise find it difficult to prioritise their health.
In 2019, NHS England set out their plan to eliminate hepatitis C in England by 2030. Hanham Secure Health has committed to micro–eliminating hepatitis C within its prisons at the earliest opportunity. To this end:
- We have invested in a Blood Borne Virus Lead Nurse who to oversee testing and treatment across all five of our prisons.
- Testing and treatment care pathways are in place to enable patients to be tested at the earliest opportunity and to progress to treatment as fast as possible.
- Our prison Healthcare Teams work in close partnership with the Hepatitis C Trust; Bristol and Severn Operational Delivery Network (ODN) and Wessex Operational Delivery network.
- We are able to Fibroscan / Ultrasound scan and prescribe hepatitis C treatment for our patients, all within the prison Healthcare, therefore keeping hospital visits to a minimum – this is more cost effective for the NHS and less stressful for the patient.
- Once released, patients are followed up for treatment in the community through referral to the Hepatitis C Community Peer Coordinator scheme.
- In collaboration with the local ODNs and the Hepatitis C Trust we plan to hold High Intensity Testing and Treatment events. These will allow us to offer mouth swab or finger prick tests to every one of our residents in each prison over a period of a few days. All residents testing positive for hepatitis C can be started on treatment, allowing us to eliminate hepatitis C within each of our establishments.