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Hepatitis C in the UK 2014: Public Health England (PHE) annual report

New figures from Public Health England (PHE) reveal hospital admissions, liver transplants and deaths from hepatitis C (HCV) have all risen in the UK.

Hospital admissions from hepatitis C-related end stage liver disease have risen from 608 in 1998 to 2,390 in 2012, while deaths have risen from 98 in 1996 to 428 in 2012. Liver transplant first registrations where post-hepatitis C cirrhosis was an indication for transplant have quadrupled from 45 in 1996 to 188 in 2013.

Dr Helen Harris who led the publication of the report said: “As well as encouraging more testing and treatment, there is an urgent need for better monitoring and reporting of treatment outcomes, as well as expansion of treatment into non-traditional settings, such as primary care, drug treatment centres, and prisons. Such measures must go hand-in-hand with effective prevention activity, like drug treatment and safe injecting practices for people who inject drugs, if we are to tackle hepatitis C and the disease it causes.”

Most recent national estimates suggest that around 214,000 individuals are chronically infected with HCV in the UK.

The Hepatitis C Trust chief executive Charles Gore said: “Despite the examples of good practice and the availability of effective treatments, we must accept that the rising hospital episodes and deaths, the poor diagnosis rate and the shockingly low level of treatment means we are failing patients."

Hep C in the UK

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