A report co-written by a Bedford Hospital nurse calls for more awareness of the potentially deadly virus Hepatitis C.
Entitled Hepatitis C: Increasing Awareness and Improving Access to Testing for the South Asian Community in Bedford, the report highlights a lack of awareness and inappropriate and inaccessible testing facilities.
Co-written by Opal Greyson, who is a hepatitis specialist nurse, it calls for Bedford’s Primary Care Trust to continue to raise the profile and increase awareness of Hepatitis C among health professionals and the South Asian community.
Hepatitis C is a blood -borne virus – often referred to as a silent time bomb – that can cause serious liver disease and cancer if left untreated.
In the South Asian community it is often contracted through medical procedures associated with cultural practices.
The silent nature of the disease means that many people may be unaware they are infected.
The new report, which gives details of a project to raise awareness and testing in Bedford, recommends that screening should be carried out on all new patients from countries with a high prevalence of Hepatitis C when they register with GP surgeries.
It suggests that nurses and health champions who specialise in viral hepatitis should be attached to doctors’ surgeries and calls for improvements to current testing facilities, such as extended opening times and quick test results to improve turnaround.