National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme

In recent years successful treatments for hepatitis C have become more widely available. These new treatments using drugs known as Directly Acting Antivirals (DAAs) offer a cure for Hepatitis C in the majority of patients. Whilst other treatments which use a combination of drugs including interferon are still widely available and used by treating clinicians, it is anticipated that DAA therapies will become the standard of care over coming years.  . In order to ensure that  persons living with hepatitis C in Ireland are  offered effective antiviral drug regimens in a structured way that ensures quality and governance in keeping with international best practice,  the HSE has established a National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme.

The Vision - The National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme is a multi annual public health plan which aims to provide treatment across a range of healthcare settings to all persons living with Hepatitis C in Ireland over the coming years with a view to completely eradicating the Hepatitis C virus in our community.

The National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme is managed by a fulltime Programme Manager, Michele Tait and is led clinically by a Clinical Lead, Professor Suzanne Norris.  Professor Suzanne Norris is a Consultant Hepatologist and joins the HSE on secondment from St James’s Hospital in Dublin to clinically lead the National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme.  Michele Tait previously managed the Hepatitis C healthcare services for persons infected with Hepatitis C through blood and blood products.  Together, the Programme Manager and Clinical Lead are responsible for ensuring the successful implementation of the multi annual public health treatment plan for Hepatitis C in Ireland. 

Strategic  Programme Direction 2016 - 2026

Phase 1 2016-2017

  • Continued provision of treatment to patients based on clinical need & expansion of clinical treatment criteria
  • Establish governance structures and develop strategic plan
  • Devise strategies for  the continued identification of patients for treatment and development of pathways to care
  • Work collaboratively with all Hepatitis C initiatives nationally to improve surveillance, education, and pathways to care 
  • Monitor developments in therapeutic treatments for hepatitis C

Phase 2 2017- 2019

  • Continued provision of treament to patients based on clinical need & expansion of clinical treatment criteria
  • Explore feasability of  developing shared models of care across community and acute hospital settings
  • Devise strategies for  the continued identification of patients for treatment and development of integrated pathways to care

Phase 3 2019-2025

  • Continued  provision of treament to patients based on clinical need & expansion of clinical treatment criteria
  • Provision of  treatment to patients with hepatitis C across community and acute hospital settings

2026

  • Progression to elimination of Hepatitis C in Ireland

Oversight of the National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme is provided through a Programme Advisory Group. The Programme Advisory Group (PAG) will provide overall oversight, advice, assurances and strategic direction to the National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme. The group is representative of key stakeholders across all health and social care settings and along with the Programme Manager and Clinical Lead it will ensure successful implementation of the multi annual public health plan for the treatment of Hepatitis C in Ireland over the coming years.

The Programme is additionally supported by a Clinical Advisory Group whose role is to provide oversight and direction in relation to decisions on clinical prioritisation and selection of appropriate drug treatment regimens for hepatitis C. The CAG is representative of healthcare professionals across a number of disciplines involved in the delivery of care to patients with hepatitis C.

Treatment through the National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme is provided on the basis of clinical need. Read more about Treating Hep C and the clinical criteria for access to treatment i

 World Hepatitis Day 2016World Hepatitis Day 2016

The theme of World Hepatitis Day 2016 is ELIMINATION and in 2015 the HSE established a National Hepatitis C Treatment Programme whose ultimate goal is the elimination of Hepatitis C in Ireland by 2026.  This will be done through the implementation of a multi annual public health plan – this fully supports the hepatitis elimination strategy as adopted by WHO member states at its World Health Assembly meeting in May 2016.