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Neil was diagnosed in 1999 but had contracted hepatitis C (Genotype 1) in 1990 following a blood transfusion.
He had to fight to get treatment in 2001 by writing to the Health Authority and his MP.Various delays, including the loss of his medical papers on three separate occasions added to the long waiting list meant that he channelled his frustration intobeing very pro-active for patients rights kkk
.As well as running a support group at St George’s Hospital and speaking as a patient representative to different organisations, he was part of a lobby group, spoke at fringe party meetings and has been interviewed by the media on aspects of his experience with hepatitis C.More recently he contributed to helping Schering Plough with the Research Partnership in producing the Patient Disease Booklet.
He took combination treatment for a year, but it was unsuccessful.Despite clearing the virus initially, it returned after three months.
However, in 2005 he completed a second round of treatment, this time using pegylated interferon which meant one injection a week instead of three.He said “this time I found it easier because I just accepted I was going to be sick for a year, this made the whole experience much better than the first time”
Since contracting hepatitis C Neil started studying counselling and psychotherapy and has completed a post-graduate Diploma/MA in Psychodynamic Counselling.“Living and working with a long term illness has actually bought a great richness into my life.This significant life experience has given me the understanding, strength and desire to pursue a role both as a volunteer and a psychotherapist.I want to develop my knowledge both for my own fulfilment and to be of value to people who feel they need help”.
Neil’s second round of treatment proved successful and he is now clear of the virus.
Neil runs the monthly mixed support group at the Hepatitis C Trust click here for dates and map