A new hepatitis C antibody testing service is an advanced service for community pharmacy which will begin in September 2020.
Through this service, people who inject drugs who are not currently accessing community drug and alcohol treatment services will have the opportunity to be tested for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) at a participating community pharmacy.
A similar service in Scotland involving 56 community pharmacies managed to eradicate hepatitis C.
If individuals test positive for hepatitis C antibodies, they will be referred for appropriate further testing and treatment via the relevant NHS Operational Delivery Network.
NHS England has said that this new hepatitis C antibody testing service is an important part of the NHS in England’s goal to eliminate the HCV by 2025. It aims to increase testing levels for HCV amongst people who inject drugs who are not currently engaged in community drug and alcohol treatment services to increase diagnosis of HCV and decrease the burden of illness and onward transmission of HCV.
The new service will run until 31 March 2022 in the first instance.
Further details of the service can be found in the service specification here.
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