South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service has signed up to a new Hepatitis C Action Plan to mark World Hepatitis Day on 28th July.

The action plan aims to further increase testing for Hepatitis C, ensuring specialist pathways and onsite treatment for the virus.

Melanie Scott, Area Manager for the South Tyneside drug and alcohol recovery service, said: “We know that Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact, such as sharing needles.

We are fully behind this plan because it will be of real benefit for the lives of the people who use our service across the county.”

The plan by Humankind, which is the lead partner in South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service, is in response to a recent government report, which stated that across the country, people are not getting access to needle and syringe services as they should.  The charity has said there should be “no closed doors” in any of its services.

Among a list of pledges set out in the plan, the organisation states it will

  • Invest in staff to increase testing rates and re-testing rates of people at risk
  • invest in training for staff to ensure we have a skilled workforce
  • allow time for data inputting
  • ensure testing provision is across the whole treatment system
  • reach out to people not registered with its services
  • commit to listening to what people who use its services say on how best to tackle the issue.

Meanwhile, South Tyneside Adult Recovery Service is joining a national campaign to raise awareness of Hepatitis C and the fact it can now be cured by a simple course of tablets.

On World Hepatitis Day, the organisation, along with a range of other charities, NHS Trusts and the Hep C Trust are backing the Hep C U Later campaign online and within its services.

Melanie said: “Our message is that this virus can be treated and can actually be cured easily!

“It’s not like the old treatment which lasted for months and sometimes had side effects. The success rate for this short course of tablets is much higher and it’s unlikely you’ll feel ill.”