A public campaign to eradicate hepatitis C in Tairāwhiti commenced on 25 June 2018.
Patients identified as being at risk of being hepatitis C positive are able to be screened at a range of service providers. If any of these patients are hepatitis C antibody positive they will then engage with general practice in order to have further testing and possible treatment initiated.
General practice will be supported to identify and test these patients and initiate a treatment plan following a positive diagnosis. The support will take the form of education, resources, electronic tools and funding to ensure there are no barriers to this group of patients accessing care.
Patients who have a positive antibody test (whether by point of care testing or venepuncture) will need to have a PCR (viral load) blood test. If this is positive, they will need to be referred for a Fibroscan and have a genotype test in order to determine the course of treatment.
Patients with no or minimal fibrosis on Fibroscan AND those who are genotype 1a or 1b will be referred back to general practice for the prescription of treatment. All other patients will be managed in secondary care. View the patient pathway flowchart here.
Patients who have one of the following risk factors:
Provider agreements will be sent to practices. Once the practice has agreed to be a part of the service a claim form will be loaded into their PMS. Submission of the form will generate a claim. Completion of the claim form is sufficient documentation to lodge a claim. The patients' clinical notes in the PMS need to reflect the care provided. There is to be no charge to the patient for this service.
Anyone with a community services card can apply to WINZ for a special grant to assist with their treatment costs. They do not need to pay this money back. They require confirmation of the fact they are eligible for hep C treatment along with an indication of travel costs to access the GP. This can also cover any additional GP visits beyond the funded consultations provided by this service.
Contact Pinnacle MHN Physically Well programme lead Sally Newell.