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Hepatitis C Action Plan for Scotland - Phase I: September 2006 - August 2008

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Section 1 Co-ordination

1.1 Numerous agencies and professional groups across Scotland are involved in Hepatitis C prevention, treatment, care and support. NHS boards, local authorities, community health partnerships, and drug and alcohol action teams all have a role in planning services for people who may have, or who may be at risk of contracting, the Hepatitis C virus.

1.2 Furthermore, over the past decade, a number of organisations and professional bodies in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK have published guidelines and recommendations addressing different aspects of Hepatitis C. For professionals as well as lay people, the sheer variety and range of information can be confusing and overwhelming.

1.3 In addition, for many people who have the virus, there is a often a significant lapse of time between becoming infected and being tested and diagnosed. It must also be acknowledged that in Scotland, at present, there are also often considerable delays between being diagnosed and receiving appropriate treatment or care. Furthermore, the process of treatment itself is lengthy.

1.4 In view of the scale and complexity of the issue, it is essential that a national, co-ordinated approach to Hepatitis C is introduced. Health Protection Scotland will take the lead in this by establishing and chairing a Hepatitis C Action Plan Co-ordinating Group ( APCG). This group will represent the range of individuals and organisations that have a stake in this area. The remit of the APCG will be:

  • to monitor the overall implementation of this Action Plan
  • to co-ordinate, oversee and monitor Hepatitis C-related activity at a national level
  • to report annually on progress and developments
  • to work with the Scottish Executive to plan action on Hepatitis C beyond September 2008.

1.5 To assist the APCG with its considerable task, three working groups will also be formed - each one responsible for monitoring and overseeing certain specific actions described in each of the following sections of the Action Plan. The working groups will report quarterly to the APCG on progress. The remit of each working group is given in Annex 1 of this Action Plan.

1.6 In addition, each NHS board area will be asked to identify a senior, lead individual - a Hepatitis C Executive Lead - to take responsibility for co-ordinating, planning and monitoring Hepatitis C-related action at a local level. This individual will liaise with local community health partnerships and drug and alcohol action teams to improve prevention, testing, treatment and care services for those who have, or who may be at risk of acquiring Hepatitis C in their area. This individual will be required to report every six months to the APCG on progress and developments in his or her area.

1.7 NHS boards will also be expected to report to the Scottish Executive on their spending of the additional Hepatitis C-related funding they received during Phase I.

1.8 The APCG itself will be accountable to the Scottish Executive through the publication of an annual report on The State of the Hepatitis C Epidemic in Scotland. This report will provide up-to-date information on, for example, the number of people in Scotland who: (i) have Hepatitis C infection (prevalence); (ii) the rate at which the virus is being transmitted (incidence); and (iii) the number of infected persons receiving specialist care, including anti-viral treatment. The report will also include information on activity, initiatives and developments undertaken at the level of each NHS board, including times between referral and access to consultants.

1.9 This report will have an important role in raising and maintaining the profile of Hepatitis C in Scotland. Therefore, it will be written in plain English so it may be understood by a wide range of organisations, groups and individuals.

Actions on Co-ordination

Timescale

Action

1.

By Oct 2006

NHS Boards (including special Boards) will identify an HCV Executive Lead who will take responsibility for co-ordinating, planning and overseeing activity on Hepatitis C at an NHS board level. This individual will report bi-annually to the APCG on action and progress in their area.

2.

By Oct 2006

Health Protection Scotland will establish and chair a Hepatitis C Action Plan Co-ordinating Group ( APCG) representing the range of individuals and organisations that have a stake in this area.

3.

By Oct 2006

The APCG will form working groups on: (1) prevention; (2) testing, treatment, care and support; and (3) education, training and awareness-raising.

4.

Dec 2006

NHS boards will submit to the Scottish Executive their proposals for spending the Phase I Hepatitis C funding available to them in 2007/08.

5.

Annually in Feb, starting Feb 2007

Health Protection Scotland will publish a formal Hepatitis C Annual Report, The State of the Hepatitis C Epidemic in Scotland.

6.

By Mar 2007

NHS boards will report to the Scottish Executive on their spending of the Phase I Hepatitis C funding they received in 2006/07.

7.

By Jun 2007

The APCG will draft and agree with local HCV Executive Leads and the Scottish Executive Health Department a short set of national outcome indicators for measuring progress in relation to Hepatitis C prevention, testing, treatment, care and support, and training and education.

8.

By Dec 2007

The Action Plan working groups will submit proposals to the Action Plan Co-ordinating Group for future action on Hepatitis C to be undertaken in Scotland beyond August 2008.

9.

By Jan 2008

The APCG will assist the Scottish Executive in putting together proposals for funding to support improvements in the quality and accessibility of Hepatitis C-related services beyond August 2008.

10.

By Feb 2009

The Scottish Executive will publish its Action Plan for Phase II, the period beyond September 2008.