The Community Pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service, which had its introduction into the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, was officially launched on 1st September 2020. Initially, this service will run until 31st March 2022.
The new Advanced service is focused on provision of point of care testing for Hepatitis C (Hep C) antibodies to people who inject drugs (PWIDs), i.e. individuals who inject illicit drugs, e.g. steroids or heroin, but who haven’t yet moved to the point of accepting treatment for their substance use. Where people test positive for Hep C antibodies, they will be referred for a confirmatory test and treatment, where appropriate.
The service is part of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s national programme to eliminate Hep C virus as a major public health threat by 2025. The service aims to use community pharmacies to target PWIDs for testing, as they are the healthcare venue most likely to be visited by that group of people.