Introduction The majority of patients with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in England remain undiagnosed. There are an estimated 1298 patients infected with HCV in North Yorkshire,1 but a fraction of these patients have been identified and successful treatment is rare. As part of the development process for an effective service in York, we audited existing referral patterns and outcomes for patients with a positive HCV serology test.
Methods A total of 9495 patients who had HCV serology checked from January 2009 to December 2011 were identified via the York hospital microbiology database. Retrospective collection of data was performed on all patients with positive serology test, using online patient database and patients’ case notes where available. Analysis of data focused on further investigations and management of these patients.
Results Out of the 9495 patients who had HCV serology tested, 330 tested positive (199 new positives, 47 known PCR positive, 1 known false-positive and 83 duplicates). Majority of the referral sources were from primary care (37%), followed by medical services (31%), drug-dependence services (9.3%), GUM (8.1%), prison (7.3%) and obstetrics (6.9%). Intravenous drug use was the most common route of acquisition. Of the 199 new positives, 113 (57%) did not receive any further investigations. 61 (31%) patients were referred to gastroenterology and 10 patients per year successfully accessed treatment.
Conclusion This audit shows the majority of HCV positives had no further investigations and only 15% of patients received curative treatment. There was significant duplication of serology testing and only 72/ 199 (36%) underwent an HCV PCR, which is the next appropriate test. Throughout the UK a variety of initiatives are ongoing to increase public awareness of hepatitis C, and encourage testing. However, unless HCV service development improves, a positive test for HCV may have little or no consequence.
Public Health England, Hepatitis C in the UK: 2013 report
Disclosure of Interest None Declared.