Glasgow’s newest hepatitis clinic will offer the latest technology and a team of dedicated specialists for Hepatitis C patients.
Jointly funded by the Scottish Government and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the £500,000 Gartnavel Hepatitis Centre was officially opened by Public Health Minister Shona Robison today.
The centre is an example of the Scotland-wide efforts being made to improve treatment, care and support services for those affected by Hepatitis C.
With a specialist team of nurses, consultants, counsellors and support staff, the centre currently runs 24 medical and specialist nurse clinics each week with capacity to expand in future.
It also uses the latest technology – a Fibroscanner which is used to monitor and manage patients with liver disease.
Ms Robison said:
“Scotland is in the middle of a Hepatitis C epidemic which means improving treatment for Hepatitis C patients is vitally important, as is increased detection of the disease.
“Our commitment to tackling Hepatitis C - outlined in our Hep C Action Plan – has been recognised internationally and the World Health Alliance frequently refers to Scotland as a model of best practice for tackling the disease.
“The Gartnavel clinic, made possible with funding from the Hep C Action Plan, is an example of what can be achieved and represents a major step forward in improving diagnosis and care for hepatitis patients.”
Jane Grant, Chief Operating Officer for NHSGGC Acute Services Division, said:
“This excellent new centre has already led to improvements in the care we can provide to our patients as well as reducing their waiting times for assessment and treatment. The purpose-built centre has allowed us to bring the Infectious Diseases and Gastroenterology HCV services already based in Gartnavel General to a single site which will enable them to work together to deliver the highest quality HCV care, audit and research from a purpose built unit. The refurbishment has also improved the working environment for staff.
“Much of its success is due to the commitment, dedication and expertise of the staff not just in the work they carry out in the centre itself but also in the community.”
Dr Ray Fox, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Lead Clinician for the NHSGGC Hepatitis C Managed Care Network said:
“Infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major public health problem in Scotland with an estimated 40,000 individuals chronically infected with the virus, 40 per cent whom reside in the Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board area. The Scottish Government have invested heavily in the Hepatitis C Action Plan for Scotland which will enable more people to be diagnosed and treated thus reducing the long-term consequences of the disease such as liver cirrhosis, liver failure requiring transplantation, and liver cancer. There will also be national campaigns to reduce the number of new infections and to raise awareness amongst those at highest risk and in the general public.
“The Gartnavel Hepatitis Centre is a refurbished clinical area in Gartnavel General Hospital funded from the Health Board’s HCV Action Plan allocation. The expansion in medical and nursing staff and the increase in clinic space will mean that significantly more patients with HCV infection can be assessed and treated. Patients can be referred into the service from a variety of sources including their GP, community addiction teams, or from outreach services provided by the specialist HCV teams.”
As part of the Hepatitis C Action Plan, all Scottish health boards have received funding to improve services and increase capacity.
Forty per cent of hepatitis C sufferers in Scotland live in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
Phase 2 of the Hepatitis C Action Plan was launched in May 2008. The aim of the plan is to increase the number of hepatitis C infected people entering treatment each year from 450 in 2007/08 to 1,500 in 2010/11.
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.