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Public health experts from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are today welcoming the announcement by Health Minister Andy Kerr of a new £4 million Action Plan to tackle rates of Hepatitis C infection.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Interim Director of Public Health Dr Linda de Caestecker said: "The Hepatitis C Action Plan for Scotland sets out a national response to what is a significant public health challenge, and that's very encouraging. This funding of almost £1.4 million over the next two years is particularly welcome, as it will allow the existing portfolio of services to be enhanced in a co-ordinated way.
"We now plan to set up a multidisciplinary group, to include a broad range of stakeholders, who will be asked to make decisions and set targets for primary prevention, treatment, care and support in accordance with the new Action Plan's recommendations.
"Approximately 40% of the total diagnosed cases of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Scotland are people who live in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. Most of these cases of infection were acquired as a consequence of injecting drug use and therefore a wide range of prevention, treatment and support services currently exists. This includes extensive needle exchange services, comprehensive addiction services delivered through the joint Health and Social Care Community Addiction Teams; the C-Level peer education and support service; testing, treatment and care.
"Most recently an Outreach Programme has been set up to offer support and assessment for treatment in the community. A Managed Care Network for Hepatitis C has also recently been established in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and it is anticipated that this will have a significant and important role to play in future treatment, care and support."