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70 Brisbane South GPs and nurses now upskilled to treat hepatitis C

Posted 17 February, 2020
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Over the last eight months, Hepatitis Queensland has engaged with over 100 medical practices in Brisbane’s South to promote GP-centred care options for managing hepatitis C.

>> Find out how your practice can get involved at the end of this article

Supported by the Queensland Government and driven by Hepatitis Queensland’s community outreach nurse, the HEAT initiative focused on upskilling GPs with the right tools to confidently test and treat hepatitis C in the community.

The initiative has supported 25 medical practices – including 70 GPs and practice nurses – with a range of services at a practice, patient and provider level. The recruited practices received expert clinical support including free onsite FibroScan services, peer-led education, patient auditing, liver clinic days, opportunities to utilise the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) Quality Improvement (QI) , referral pathways and additional practice support.

What does HEAT stand for?

  • Hepatitis C – Brisbane South has one of the lowest rates of hepatitis C treatment uptake in Australia with only 19.4 per cent of those living with the virus receiving treatment. Left undetected or untreated, the liver damage caused by hepatitis C occurs slowly and silently, with many people mistakenly attributing symptoms like tiredness and muscle aches to just getting older.
  • Elimination – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set ambitious targets to reach viral hepatitis elimination by 2030. At a local level, a meaningful partnership formed by Hepatitis Queensland; Queensland Health; Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM); Metro South Health; and Brisbane South Primary Health Network (PHN) aims to deliver a suite of activities in the Brisbane South PHN region to improve the lives of individuals impacted by hepatitis C. Through these targeted activities, the initiative can help reach elimination goals in Queensland.
  • Action – Now is the time for action. The HEAT initiative operated from July to December in the Brisbane South PHN to ensure all Queenslanders living with hepatitis C were given the opportunity to receive care and be cured. A simple test followed by tablets for two or three months is all it takes to be cured of hepatitis C.
  • Team – Community outreach nurse, Jeanette Tibbs is driving this initiative locally. She has supported 25 medical practices, 70 GPs and practice nurses with a range of services at a practice, patient and provider level.

Want to get involved?

While the HEAT initiative is soon coming to an end, GPs, nurses and medical practice staff working across the Brisbane South PHN region can continue to access:

  • Online video resources delivered by Dr Alison Stewart, an experienced hepatitis C-treating GP. The short, 3-part series is packed full of great tips and tools to support GPs in continuing the hepatitis C elimination effort. Watch the videos here
  • Contact Hepatitis Queensland on 1800 437 222 for a Hepatitis C GP toolkit which has resources at a practice, provider and patient level.
  • Our free onsite FibroScan service delivered by a fully qualified nurse. Contact Jeanette Tibbs to book an appointment for your patient – nurse@hepqld.asn.au OR 1800 437 222
  • Stay up to date with hepatitis C treatment by subscribing to HQ’s monthly newsletter and attending ASHM’s regular workshops.
Acknowledgements
The Hepatitis C Elimination Action Team is proudly supported by Queensland Health

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