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Home > News > Specialist nurse takes clinic to the community

Specialist nurse takes clinic to the community

Posted on Tuesday 10th December 2013
cherry hughes

Cherry Hughes, Hepatology Specialist Nurse

A Hepatology Specialist Nurse from the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle will begin to hold clinics for hepatitis patients at the Unity Drug & Alcohol Recovery Service from January 2014.

Cherry Hughes has teamed up with Unity to hold the clinic at the centre on Botchergate every Thursday with the aim of being more accessible to people who go there who would like to start treatment for hepatitis or would like a discussion about it. Treatment can be administered at the clinic with no need to attend the hospital.

Hepatitis C is usually transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and the most common way to contract the virus in the UK is by sharing equipment used to inject illegal drugs. However, this is not always the case and non-drug users can also contract the virus through contact with infected blood.

Cherry Explains: “Hepatitis C is largely associated with drug use and therefore there is a stigma around it. Many patients do not attend appointments at the hospital because they are worried about how they may be judged. However, there are other causes and I would encourage anyone who has concerns to seek advice.

“I have been looking at ways to improve attendance at appointments, so taking the clinic into the community is the ideal solution. This is an environment where people feel comfortable and well supported and the hope is that other service users will come forward for testing and treatment.”

Hepatitis C is a growing virus and is the biggest cause of liver transplantation. If treated, there is an 80% chance of a permanent cure for type 2 and 3 and a 50-60% chance of a cure for type 1. The more people who are treated, the less prevalent the virus will be in the local community.

The Unity Drug & Alcohol Recovery Service can be found in Carlisle, Penrith, Workington, Whitehaven, Barrow and Kendal and is run by the Greater Manchester NHS Trust.

Cate Meagher, Manager of Unity in Carlisle, said: “This is a fabulous opportunity and we are very excited to work with Cherry and bring the two services together.

“Drug users are usually very difficult to engage with outside of a centre they are comfortable going to, so we are very optimistic that the clinic will increase uptake and improve outcomes for drug users in Carlisle.”

Cherry said: “Our overall aim is to reduce the pool of infection by seeing and treating more people. We do not judge lifestyle or choices, however by working with Unity, the aim is to give opportunities to make positive changes and improve health and life chances.”