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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-05046: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 25 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-04549 by Aileen Campbell on 22 November 2016, what analysis it has carried out to determine the reason for the fall in the number of hepatitis C diagnoses in 2015; what estimate it has made of the current number of undiagnosed cases, and what steps it is taking to ensure that each NHS board has the capacity to exceed its treatment target for the condition.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 14 December 2016

Health Protection Scotland have investigated the reduction in the number of diagnosis in 2015 but has not identified a particular trend to explain this. HPS has specifically examined whether or not there has been a reduction in the volume of testing undertaken, but based on an analysis of the four largest NHS boards, this appears not to be the case. Rather this has demonstrated a 40% increase in hepatitis C tests carried out during 2015 compared to the annual average for the 2010-2014 period. Over 65,000 people were tested in 2015 compared with an average of 46,546 tests per year over the prior five years).

It is estimated that the number of people chronically infected with hepatitis C in Scotland is 35,900 of which 21,500 (60%) have been diagnosed. This equates to a 50% increase in the proportion of infected people being diagnosed since the launch of the Hepatitis C Action plan in 2008. The proportion of the infected population being diagnosed is continuing to increase each year.

The annual treatment target is a national minimum target. Each NHS Board is responsible for managing its own population and the disease within its locality. NHS Boards are currently on track to exceed the national target for 2015-16 of 1,500.