Sections News

Rolling out new oral treatments for Hepatitis C

Thursday, 14 September 2017 10:15

NHS England

The largest single investment in new treatments for the NHS in 2016/17 was for new oral Hepatitis C treatments that can cure the disease. NHS England has embarked on a sustainable roll-out strategy and we now have evidence that the investment in these game-changing treatments and the prioritisation by the Hepatitis C operational delivery networks of patients with greatest unmet clinical need, has significantly reduced deaths and liver transplants. By the end of August 2017, approximately 20,000 patients will have been treated, which amounts to more than 10 per cent of the total estimated infected population. Since we have followed NICE guidance to focus on those at greatest clinical need, this has led to a rapid reduction in mortality (by around 10 per cent) and an unprecedented reduction in liver transplants for Hepatitis C Virus of around 50 per cent.

Through our work on drug pricing, the NHS is able to increase the number of patients treated within available resources. Industry has responded positively to our successive drug procurements and moved to an innovative 'pay for cure' approach for all hepatitis C treatments. This means the NHS only pays for the drug if patients are cured, which frees up funds and allows consideration of other access issues. For example, there are a small number of people with advanced disease for whom the first treatment was unsuccessful, and they need to be retreated urgently. Although NICE are set to review evidence for future guidance including retreatment, in the meantime NHS England has approved a policy to allow those with the most advanced disease to be retreated. As well as improving access for these patients, the number of people to be treated overall will increase by 25 percent this year (2017/18).

Please find a reactive statement from Hepatitis C Coalition below:

The Hepatitis C Coalition welcomes NHS England's decision to invest in ground-breaking oral treatments which can cure hepatitis C (HCV) within a matter of weeks, and to help more patients to access these medicines. The government has already committed to the World Health Organisation's target to eliminate HCV by 2030; recognition that a more proactive approach to testing and treating HCV is needed is a positive step in the right direction. Alongside the availability of treatments, we would urge Mr Stevens to ensure better coordination between the NHS, national and local government, service providers and health organisations to help further reduce the current HCV patient population. We need everyone to play their part in eliminating the virus.

PHE Notice - Re: Shortage of hepatitis B vaccines - recommendations for national clinical directors

Wednesday, 09 August 2017 11:22

Dr. Mary Ramsay and Dr Sema Mandal
Immunisation, Hepatitis, Blood Safety and Countermeasures Response

There is a global shortage of hepatitis B vaccine which is currently impacting severely on the UK supply. The situation is particularly critical during August but limitations on supply are likely to continue until early 2018. To ensure that stock is available for those individuals at highest and most immediate risk of exposure to hepatitis B, Public Health England (PHE) has developed temporary recommendations to support clinicians undertaking an individual risk assessment.

PHE and Department of Health (DH) have been working with both vaccine manufacturers to institute ordering restrictions according to customer type. The allocation is based on an agreed assessment of the proportion of vaccines used by that provider type for individuals in the highest priority groups. As a consequence, some providers may not be able to order any stock and others will have limits applied to their orders. A mechanism will be in place, however, to allow for exceptional orders if there is an urgent and immediate need for an individual following an individual risk assessment.

NHS Hospital Trusts will get the highest allocation, but it has been agreed with the BMA's General Practitioners Committee that general practice will not be able to order any adult hepatitis B vaccine stock until further notice. Because of this, patients requiring post-exposure hepatitis B vaccination will be referred to urgent care or Accident and Emergency based in NHS trusts for an assessment. In addition, specialist services such as liver services, who may normally request that GPs offer hepatitis B vaccination to their patients should note that the GP may not be able to meet this request.

To sustain supply for those at greatest need, all services are being asked to:

  • ensure that clinicians are aware of the temporary recommendations on prioritising vaccines
  • only order essential vaccine stock (small amounts more frequently) and avoid stockpiling
  • coordinate and monitor stock usage across the service to ensure that scarce stock is being used responsibly
  • accept and use alternative products including combined hepatitis A and B vaccines, and other presentations (e.g. multi-dose packs)

The full list of recommendations may be downloaded below:


Improving Quality in Liver Services

Friday, 07 July 2017 08:59

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has officially launched its new exemplar liver accreditation programme, Improving Quality in Liver Services (IQILS), led by Dr James Ferguson, clinical lead for the programme.

Born out of the successful LiverQuest pilot project, IQILS is supported by the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) and the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) and has been shaped in partnership with the wider liver community, professional bodies, societies and patient groups.

Having taken learning and recommendations from the original LiverQuest pilot, the new accreditation scheme, will support liver services to deliver high-quality care for patients.

IQILS is open to all liver services across the UK, enabling them invaluable access to a new online tool, expertise and up to date guidance on improving standards and enhancing patient experience.

For more details regarding the scheme, how to sign up, and discount eligibility, information can be found at Alternatively, contact Madeline Corrigan, IQILS Programme Manager at the RCP at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Alcohol and Digestive Cancers

Thursday, 06 July 2017 12:09

UEG is committed to raising political and public awareness of digestive health conditions, informing policy makers and encouraging research.

The European region has the highest levels of alcohol consumption in the world, with one fifth of the population aged 15 and above drinking heavily at least once a week. As a result, the continent also has the highest proportion of total ill health and premature death directly linked to alcohol.

Alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for digestive cancers, including oesophageal, liver, pancreatic, colorectal and gastric cancer.

Canvassing the opinions of leading European digestive cancer specialists, stakeholder organisations and patient groups, the report highlights the scale of alcohol consumption across Europe and its direct and indirect impact on digestive cancers.

BASL School of Transplantation Meeting

Thursday, 09 February 2017 13:51

28/04/17 - 29/04/17 - BASL School of Transplantation Meeting - Birmingham - booking now OPEN!

Following the very successful meeting of the School of Transplantation at the BASL & BLTG Annual meeting in September 2016 the dates have been announced for the 2017 event.

This year the School of Transplantation meeting will be a standalone meeting taking place from Friday 28th - Saturday 29th April on the Edgbaston Campus at the University of Birmingham and is FREE to BASL Members.

Register online at:-

Details of the draft programme can be found here:-

If you have any questions please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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