The Australian Government Standing Committee on Health has released the final report of its Inquiry into Hepatitis
“We welcomed the opportunity with the Inquiry to voice our concerns. Hepatitis C is a very serious issue for the bleeding disorders community,” said Gavin Finkelstein, HFA President.
“I was pleased to see that the report has acknowledged some of the effects of hepatitis C on people with bleeding disorders – in particular, on working and income,” commented Gavin Finkelstein.
To deal with issues such as stigma and discrimination and information about new treatments – highlighted in the HFA Hepatitis C “Double Whammy” report – the Committee recommended a range of carefully planned national awareness campaigns.
How to deliver the new treatments to people with hepatitis C was another key part of the Inquiry. The report explored several options, including through GPs, nurse-led care services, and in regional and remote areas. Access to treatment around Australia has been a major issue for HFA.
“I was disappointed that there was not recognition of treatment and care needs of people with complex co-morbidities, such as people with bleeding disorders, who may not be at risk of infection, but nevertheless experience major barriers to their liver health care and treatment,” said Gavin Finkelstein
“But ultimately what is most critical for people with bleeding disorders and hepatitis C is access to these new treatments, and it needs to be provided without delay. We would like to see a commitment from the current government to fund these new treatments as a matter of urgency.”
HFA INQUIRY SUBMISSION
HFA also made a written submission to the Inquiry, outlining the issues for people with bleeding disorders who acquired hepatitis C through their plasma-derived treatment products and have now lived with the virus for more than 20 to 30 years.