Wirral Ways achieves the micro-elimination of hepatitis C

01 November 2023
Picture of two staff members holding leaflets and smiling
Vicky Karlikowski (left), the Harm Reduction Health and Wellbeing Connector, and Julie Murphy (right), a healthcare assistant, at the Wirral Ways service promoting Hepatitis C testing.

Wirral Ways has become the largest drug and alcohol misuse treatment provider in the UK to achieve the micro-elimination of hepatitis C.

The local service, commissioned by the Wirral Council public health team, has worked tirelessly to achieve micro-elimination by focusing on blood borne virus (BBV) testing. A simple blood spot test (via a finger prick) checks for blood borne viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Promoting uptake of this testing is very important among those who inject drugs, or who have injected in the past, as they have an increased risk of contracting these viruses but may be unaware that they are infected.

Micro-elimination is a new way of tackling hepatitis C, making sure that people are being tested, diagnosed, and getting the treatment they need quickly and easily. The treatment itself is very effective and very easy to take, causing little disruption to people’s lives.

Achieving micro-elimination means a service has reached these targets:

  • 100% of people using the service have been offered a hepatitis C test.
  • 90% of these people have then been tested.
  • 75% of people who were diagnosed with hepatitis C have started treatment.

Wirral Ways, which is part of the national charity Change Grow Live, has offered a blood born virus (BBV) test to 100% of the people that use the service. Currently 98% of those offered have also been tested.

Picture of a hand wearing blue silicone glove, helping somebody take a finger prick blood test
Blood borne virus (BBV) testing (via a finger prick) checks for blood borne viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Cllr Janette Williamson, Chair of Wirral’s Adult Social Care and Health committee, said:

Blood borne virus (BBV) testing is vital, as catching these viruses early is crucial to fighting them with treatment. Thanks to Wirral Ways proactive approach to testing, people in service with hepatitis C have been identified and started treatment. This not only benefits their health but also reduces the risk of transmission to others too.

I’d like to congratulate the team on this fantastic achievement - they are the largest service so far to reach this milestone. The positive impact on the health of our communities is massive.

Gary Grier, the Project Manager at Wirral Ways, said:

Achieving micro-elimination is an outstanding act – but the best part is promoting better health outcomes for those who use our services. This is a brilliant effort from everyone involved.

If you or someone you know are struggling with drug or alcohol misuse, or if you have injected drugs in the past, please get in touch with Wirral Ways. You can make a referral by phoning the service on 0151 556 1335 or by visiting www.changegrowlive.org/wirral-ways.

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