Wirral Ways has become the largest drug and alcohol misuse treatment provider in the UK to achieve micro-elimination of hepatitis C.
The team at the centre, which is part of the national health and social care charity Change Grow Live, has worked tirelessly to achieve this result by focusing on blood-borne virus (BBV) testing.
The blood spot test checks for BBV such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV as those who inject drugs have an increased risk of contracting these viruses.
Testing is vital as catching the virus early is crucial to fighting it with treatment. Wirral Ways has offered a BBV test to 100% of the people that use the service. Some 98.1% of those with a history of injecting have also been tested.
It has also ensured that over 90% of those at risk have been tested within the last 12 months. Following on from the testing, 93% of people with hepatitis C have started treatment.
Johnathan Occleshaw, Change Grow Live’s hepatitis C coordinator for the North West, said, “It is my tremendous pleasure to let you know that our fabulous Wirral Ways service has achieved micro-elimination of hepatitis C – this makes Wirral Ways the largest service so far to declare this.
“The service has been on the brink for a couple of months now which shows we can maintain it.”
Gary Grier, the Project Manager at Wirral Ways, said, “Achieving micro-elimination is an outstanding act – but the best part is promoting better health outcomes for those who use our services. This is a brilliant effort from everyone involved.”
He added, “We have worked closely and tirelessly with staff from Arrowe Park Hospital and The Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Without their help – as well as support and guidance from The Hepatitis C Trust and Gilead Sciences – this would not have been achieved.
“Without the support of all of our staff – in particular Vicky, Julie, Sharon, Paul, Steve and Diane – this would not have been possible.”
If you or someone you know are struggling with drug or alcohol misuse, please get in touch with Wirral Ways. You can make a referral by phoning the service on 0151 556 1335 or by visiting www.changegrowlive.org/wirral-ways
Lead image: Vicky Karlikowski (left), the Harm Reduction Health and Wellbeing Connector, and Julie Murphy, a healthcare assistant, at the service