Building the infrastructure for antiviral treatment of chronic hepatitis C in prisoners across Australia - the PACT study

Strands Project Theme
Project Description

Prisoners have been identified in the Fourth National Hepatitis C Strategy 2014–2017 as a priority population for hepatitis C treatment with over 50,000 individuals passing through the prison system annually. Although approximately one in three prisoners are infected with hepatitis C at present only a tiny minority currently receive antiviral treatment in this setting. Recently, Professor Lloyd has led the development and implementation of an innovative nurse-led model of care in NSW prisons, incorporating protocols for assessment and monitoring, telemedicine for specialist input, and portable fibro-elastography (to measure scarring of the living) was successfully implemented in the NSW prisons to facilitate increased uptake of decentralised care. The model was safe, effective in increasing treatment rates, and well accepted by prisoners, as well as custodial and health care staff. A recent survey of hepatitis services in other Australian states and territories indicated that provision of specialist hepatitis nurses and education programs for health care staff were the most commonly recommended approaches as to how prison services could be improved and the number prisoners receiving antiviral treatment increased. In combination with the arrival of the new, highly effective, short course antiviral treatments, implementation of the nurse led model of care in other prison jurisdictions offers the opportunity for the prison-sector to make a major contribution to control Australia’s growing burden of disease due to hepatitis C. The aim of this project is implement and evaluate the nurse-led model of care for hepatitis C assessment and treatment developed in NSW in two additional jurisdictions.

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