Hep C

Hepatitis support for GPs in Gippsland

Gippsland PHN is continuing to support GPs in Gippsland with new resources, pathways and training modules to assist when treating, managing and referring patients with hepatitis C.

According to the Surveillance of Notable Diseases in Victoria, Gippsland had 53 Hepatitis C notifications per 100,000 people (2017), this figure is high when compared to the rest of Victoria who reported only 35 in the same year.

In Victoria, more than 70,000 currently live with the hepatitis C virus. Previously, only 1.3 per cent of people with Hepatitis C received treatment; left untreated, chronic Hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.

Since March 2016, several new direct acting antivirals (DAA) to treat Hepatitis C have been made available on the PBS General Schedule. This means that medicines can be prescribed by GPs, experienced nurse practitioners and specialists, and supplied by community pharmacists.

The word ‘hepatitis’ means inflammation of the liver. Viral hepatitis is the most common form of liver inflammation. The liver is the body’s second largest organ performs several functions related to digestion, metabolism, immunity and the processing of nutrients.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more than three times more likely to be diagnosed with hepatitis C than the non-indigenous population.

GPs managing patients with Hepatitis C can refer to the Chronic Hepatitis C Health Pathways Gippsland, which provides relevant and evidence-based information on how to treat, monitor and refer patients with Hepatitis C. 

A Hepatitis C Clinical Nurse Consultant from Latrobe Community Health Service is also available to support GPs where they can provide remote consultations and prescribe the DAA.

Education and training about new treatments for people with Hepatitis C were introduced in 2016 providing patients and GPs access to new treating clinical guidelines and antiviral medication.

More resources and training modules are available via the Gippsland PHN website https://www.gphn.org.au/programs/hepatitis/.

World Hepatitis Day – 28 July 2019

The annual LIVERability festival is a celebration for World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness of viral hepatitis especially in regions with a significant burden of disease associated with viral hepatitis. Find out more http://www.hepvic.org.au/page/1179/liverability-festival

Hepatitis Victoria would especially like to hear from you if you have an existing event that could be incorporated into the festival calendar.

Please contact the Hepatitis Victoria Health Promotion Programs Manager, Martin Forrest on (03) 9385 9111 or email martin@hepvic.org.au.