The Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service is a new advanced service for community pharmacy commencing in September 2020. Through this service, people who inject drugs who are not currently accessing community drug and alcohol treatment services, will have the opportunity to be tested for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) at a participating community pharmacy. Where individuals test positive for hepatitis C antibodies, they will be referred for appropriate further testing and treatment via the relevant NHS Operational Delivery Network.
The Hepatitis C Antibody Testing Service is an important part of the NHS in England’s goal to eliminate the HCV by 2025. It aims to increase testing levels for HCV amongst people who inject drugs who are not currently engaged in community drug and alcohol treatment services to increase diagnosis of HCV and decrease the burden of illness and onward transmission of HCV. As one of a number of interventions via the national Hepatitis C Programme, the service will be time limited and will run until 31 March 2022 in the first instance.
Any community pharmacy that meets the prerequisites for service provision detailed in the service specification can register to provide this service. If contractors meet these and wish to provide this service, they should:
- Notify NHS England that they intend to provide the service by completion of an electronic registration through the NHS BSA Manage Your Service (MYS) platform
- Ensure they are ready to register patients on the Hepatitis C IT Registry; and
- Ensure any staff providing the service watch the NHS England training video, which is the core training requirement.
Further details of the service can be found in the service specification: