Eliminating Hep C


People filling out HepC test forms

“Thanks for maintaining my confidentiality, excellent service”

A beneficiary of the intensive programme of Hep C testing in Dorset last year

Last year Reach Dorset and partners Hep C U Later under the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust ran a 5 day testing event across Dorset, taking a mobile testing unit to the main towns to carry out free Hep C testing and other health screenings. Uniquely, people were offered vouchers in return for getting tested and for bringing others along to the screenings. The van will be taking to the road again this Spring and this case study is taken from the second day of testing in 2021.

Dave and Jane went into Weymouth town centre to engage people to be tested. Dave bought a person back who was begging. He had managed to engage him with the promise of incentive vouchers for undertaking a test and completing the UAM survey. This meant he would receive £9 worth of Love to Shop vouchers.

When he arrived at the van, it was apparent he had some cognitive impairments or learning disability and was vulnerable, although to start with it was not clear if this was due to a disability or substances. The other staff left Louise and him in the van as it was clear he could not tolerate sensory overload or additional people around him. He initially told Louise he was homeless and it was difficult to get information from him. He did engage well in the survey and asked Louise to fill this out for him. Louise did the test, which came up positive for Hep C antibodies;

Louise explained what this meant and took the second test for the Cepheid. Whilst this was running, Louise made some calls, as she was concerned about his ability to understand the information and whether he would return on day 5 to be assessed for hepatitis C treatment. Having read his patient records it became clear this was a very complex case and Louise asked REACH and Sandy from Homeless Healthcare for support.

Within minutes of this, Jay and Kate arrived from Shelter who confirmed the man was not homeless but often went missing for several days and updated Louise of the multi-agency involvement. They managed to keep him with them for around an hour. However, he left just before his Cepheid result, with a plan to return on Friday 26th November to be assessed by Jenna.

The test had an error so fingers were crossed that he would return on Friday. He did return and had another Cepheid completed which was detected with a viral load of 1210000 UI/ml and he also had a fibro scan completed which was within normal range. Jenna assessed him for treatment and his case will be continued to be discussed as he will not be straightforward to treat. Clare our Hep C Mental Health Engagement worker will be working with Jenna, Sandy, Jay and Kate from Shelter and REACH to try to get him treated.

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