Cross-party support for hep C elimination ambition

“After so long thinking you’re going to die, to be clear is just unbelievable”

These were the words of Grant Knox in the Scottish Parliament this week as he shared his powerful hepatitis C experience with MSPs and guests.

He was speaking at the launch of ‘Eliminating Hepatitis C in Scotland: A Call to Action’ – a report produced by our friends at the Hepatitis C Trust, in partnership with a group of cross party MSPs.

The report sets out a range of recommendations with the intention of making elimination of hepatitis C a reality.  These include measures to widen access to testing and treatment, to improve education among healthcare staff and people who may be at risk, and to develop a dedicated Scottish Government strategy to ensure that progress is made and monitored.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve met with a number of the MSPs involved in the report, and were pleased to share our experiences to help inform their work. This included chairing a roundtable discussion with health experts, MSPs and charities in June last year, where we highlighted initiatives such as our prison link pilot.

One of the most heartening things about this week’s launch has been the cross-party approach. The MSPs involved all spoke about how this issue should be above party politics and of the need to ensure that their recommendations are turned into action. With today’s treatments, the ambition to eliminate hepatitis C is achievable but we will need renewed political will to make it happen. We will happily support this ambition moving forward, while ensuring that people living with hepatitis C are supported to overcome issues such as poor mental health and addiction that so often prevent them from accessing treatment.

We’d like to thank the Hepatitis C Trust for inviting us to the launch, and to all the individuals like Grant who shared their personal stories.

You can read the full report and recommendations on the Hepatitis C Trust website.