Media Statement on NICE Guidance for Treatment of Mild Hepatitis C
LONDON, August 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hepatitis C Trust is delighted with the NICE guidance issued today as it gives patients the opportunity to be treated during the early stages of hepatitis C, before measurable damage occurs to their liver. This guidance offers a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who now have the hope of an early cure. For Jonathan Colam the news comes five years too late: "It is shocking to think that I was refused treatment because I didn't have enough liver damage. When I was finally treated I had developed fibrosis and was suffering from liver pains, night sweats and mood swings - the severity of these symptoms I only appreciated after I finished treatment and realised what it felt like to be well."
Whilst this guidance from NICE is a dramatic step forward at a national policy level, unfortunately there is limited progress taking place locally. In an audit conducted on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group, The Hepatitis C Trust found that only 21 of the 305 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England have allocated significant additional resources in 2006 to treat patients with hepatitis C. Indeed, Patricia Hewitt's own PCT scored a disappointing zero in the audit. Charles Gore, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, states "PCTs must take responsibility now to ensure that adequate services and funding are put in place to meet the increased demand for treatment - only with their full support can today's decision have any real impact on patients' lives."
SOURCE The Hepatitis C Trust
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