Name: Janet Catt
Position: Lead blood-borne viruses (BBV) nurse
Manager: Mr Adrian Kirkby, county harm reduction manager
BBV nurses: Maggie Panou, Helen Kniveton, Ann Mayhew
This team led a hepatitis C programme, which included an awareness campaign targeting health professionals and the public. It also reviewed outreach services to improve testing among hard-to-reach groups, such as past and current drug users, prisoners, hostels, and the homeless. The programme also includes initiatives to improve the successful take-up of treatment services.
By establishing a community outreach service and improving referral services, the attendance at specialist appointments for hepatitis C treatment has increased, and more patients are completing treatment. The project has helped to establish relationships with important stakeholders in the region which are also working to tackle hepatitis C.
Name: Dr Tricia Cresswell (executive director of public health, County Durham and Darlington PCTs), Dr Deb Wilson (consultant in health protection, North East Health Protection Unit), Dr Fu-Meng Khaw (Consultant in Health Protection, North East Health Protection Unit), Dr Sushma Saksena (consultant gastroenterologist, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust)
By working together, County Durham and Darlington Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), Health Protection Agency (HPA) North East and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust have made important progress in improving the provision of hepatitis C care in their area.
Their approach has included designing a care pathway, improving information management, extending outreach services, and raising awareness among primary care staff. As a result, the number of patients being successfully treated for hepatitis C infection has increased dramatically from a handful each year to 39 in the first year of implementing the new service. Of the 39 cases starting treatment, six have cleared the virus and the others are still receiving treatment, or are currently being assessed to see if treatment has been successful.