News

Eliminating hepatitis C

Published: 31 Jul 2019 10:00

Effective elimination of hepatitis C by 2024.

Plans to treat more people annually for hepatitis C will see Scotland effectively eliminate the condition six years ahead of the World Health Organisation’s expectations.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick has committed to increase the number of people treated for the potentially fatal blood-borne virus to at least 2,500 in 2019-20 and to at least 3,000 annually from 2020-21.

In Scotland there are an estimated 21,000 people living with hepatitis C, which causes progressive damage to the liver. By increasing the number of people treated annually, NHS Scotland will be able to effectively eliminate the condition by 2024.

During 2018-19 NHS Scotland exceeded the target to treat 2,000 people for hepatitis C.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“Scotland has long been known as a world leader when it comes to tackling hepatitis C and this ambitious target confirms that we are still leading the way in our mission to effectively eliminate the virus by 2024 six years ahead of the World Health Organisations expectations.

“Recent figures show we are exceeding our targets on the number of people we are treating for hepatitis C and it is vital that we maintain this momentum.

“We must keep getting the message out that hepatitis C can be cured with a short course of pills, and that anyone who has ever been at risk should get tested.”

Background

The World Health Organisation has set targets for the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health threat, including treating 80% of those who are eligible for treatment and reducing mortality from hepatitis C infection by 65% by 2030.

Health Protection Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Treatment and Therapies Group determined that having no more than 5,000 people infected with hepatitis C and new annual presentations of hepatitis C related serious disease and death in single figures would meet the WHO targets in the Scottish context.

Health Protection Scotland report on 2018-19 figures are available on Health Protection Scotland’s website.

Hepatitis C Action Plan