Campaigning in Scotland
- An estimated 36,700 people in Scotland have hepatitis C (0.7% of the population, compared to 0.4% in England)
- Only 58% of people in Scotland with hepatitis C have been diagnosed.
- 1,273 people in Scotland began hepatitis C treatment in 2014/15.
- Liver-related deaths among people with hepatitis C in Scotland have increased by over three times in the last 20 years.
- In 2015, the Scottish Government committed to the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health concern, as well as to treating 1,500 people per year for the next 5 years.
Scotland has 36,700 people with hepatitis C, as well as a higher prevalence rate than in the rest of the UK.
Impressive strides have been taken in Scotland over the past decade to tackle the virus, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that more people are tested, diagnosed, treated and cured, and that the virus is eliminated as a serious public health concern. The Hepatitis C Trust has played a big role in much of the progress that has been made over the past decade, and is committed to continuing this work in the years ahead; ensuring that the patient voice is always front and centre.
Our Scottish Officer, Petra Wright, leads our work in the country. As well as lobbying and campaigning for improvements to hepatitis C services and strategy, Petra also co-ordinates patient activism through the National Patients Forum and the Hepatitis Voices programme, both of which she works on alongside Hepatitis Scotland.
Patient activism and involvement
The National Patients Forum is a forum for anyone in Scotland with hepatitis B or C to discuss the issues that are affecting them, as well as receive updates on the latest developments around viral hepatitis in Scotland. The Forum holds meetings several times a year in different locations around Scotland.
Hepatitis Voices is a new programme to help patients become actively involved in local and national hepatitis C decision-making networks. By providing patients with the tools and skills to make sure their voice is heard, the programme seeks to place patients at the heart of the fight to tackle hepatitis C in Scotland.
Policy and parliamentary work
We are committed to ensuring that hepatitis C receives the political attention that it deserves in Scotland. In September 2015, the Scottish Government committed itself to the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health concern. This was a significant moment, but with 42% of people with hepatitis C in Scotland still undiagnosed and with only small numbers of people receiving treatment each year, it is only through ensuring that MSPs and the Scottish Government remain focused on hepatitis C that we will see the goal of elimination being achieved.
Through engaging with MSPs and the Scottish Government, we seek to ensure that the voices of people with hepatitis C in Scotland are heard loud and clear in the Scottish Parliament. Whether meeting with parliamentarians, staging parliamentary events, or participating in high-level policy groups, we work hard to make sure that hepatitis C is made a priority by key decision-makers in Scotland.
If you would like to get involved in the National Patients Forum or the Hepatitis Voices programme, or if you would like to discuss anything related to the hepatitis C patient experience in Scotland, you can contact Petra at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07742 407 839, or write to her at:
The Hepatitis C Trust
Falkirk Business Hub
45 Vicar Street
If you would like to discuss Scottish policy or parliamentary issues, please contact Neil Cowan at email@example.com or on 020 7089 6220.