Meetings and Events

Minutes of meeting held on Wednesday 15th May 2019

Parliamentarians

Sir David Amess MP (Co-Chair)

Baroness Masham of Ilton (Co-Chair)

External guests

Aidan Rylatt – Policy and Parliamentary Adviser, The Hepatitis C Trust

Alex Worrell – Parliamentary Assistant to Jeff Smith MP

Prof Ashley Brown – Hepatitis C Operational Delivery Network Clinical Lead for West London

Clive Henn – Alcohol Lead, Public Health England

Dee Cunniffe – Policy Strategy Facilitator, London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C

Iona Casley – Policy and Parliamentary Adviser, The Hepatitis C Trust

Joseph Cox – Secretariat, Hepatitis C Coalition

Kieran Bunn – Public Policy and Advocacy Assistant, Alcohol Health Alliance

Mark Woodrow – Assistant to Sir David Amess MP

Natasha Buckham – Research and Policy Officer, Alcohol Change UK

Prof Nick Sheron – Co-founder, Alcohol Health Alliance UK; Head of Clinical Hepatology, University of Southampton

Pamela Healy – CEO, British Liver Trust

Rachel Halford – CEO, The Hepatitis C Trust

Richard Fernandes – Head of Policy, Institute of Alcohol Studies

Sarah Schoenberger – Policy and Advocacy Manager, Alcohol Health Alliance

Vanessa Hebditch – Director of Policy and Communications, British Liver Trust

1. Welcome and introductions (Sir David Amess, Co-Chair)

Sir David Amess MP welcomed the attendees.

2. Update on the NHS England hepatitis C elimination deal (Prof Ashley Brown, ODN Clinical Lead, West London Hepatitis C ODN; Vice Chair, Hepatitis C Coalition)

Prof Brown updated the group on the NHS England hepatitis C elimination deal which has recently been officially announced. While this development was welcomed, Ashley warned that we need to keep the pressure on the government to achieve elimination. Various methods were discussed, in particular calling for a Government-backed written elimination strategy; funding a hepatitis C awareness campaign; testing initiatives targeting certain demographics, such as women who gave birth in the 1950s who may have received blood products infected with hepatitis C through the NHS; and the development of anonymised home testing.

In addition, concerns were raised regarding regulatory barriers to delivering hepatitis C treatment through community pharmacies, which presents challenges to accessing treatment for those who have difficulty engaging with secondary care services. The group agreed that further exploration is needed into the possibility of dispensing treatment from community pharmacies and Sir David Amess agreed to write to the Public Health Minister to request a meeting to discuss what can be done.

3. Update on alcohol policy (Prof Nick Sheron, Co-founder, Alcohol Health Alliance UK; Head of Clinical Hepatology, University of Southampton)

Prof Sheron presented recent figures on liver disease and alcohol consumption which indicate a close link between liver-related mortality and the availability of very low cost alcohol. The presentation highlighted the case for tackling problem drinking by increasing the price of strong and very cheap alcohol. The group discussed the potential for introducing minimum unit pricing for alcohol, which has been introduced in Scotland and will shortly be introduced in Wales, as well as the marketing of drinks and how harmful this can be, particularly for young people.

It was highlighted that the last alcohol strategy was in 2012, and while the Government said it would consider publishing a new strategy last year, none has yet emerged. Sir David Amess agreed to write to the Public Health Minister to ask whether the Government would consider introducing minimum unit pricing.

4. Any other business

No other business was raised.

Past events

Members

Members and supporters of the APPG at the launch of the Group’s ‘Eliminating Hepatitis C in England’ report in Parliament (L-R: Neil Parish MP, Baroness Randerson, Lord Mancroft, Virendra Sharma MP, Baroness Masham, Nigel Grundy [peer talk volunteer for The Hepatitis C Trust] and Sir David Amess MP)

Norman Lamb Norman Lamb MP at the launch of the APPG’s ‘Eliminating Hepatitis C in England’ report, March 2018

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Members of the APPG with expert witnesses following an evidence session of the APPG’s inquiry into hepatitis C elimination, October 2017
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Baroness Randerson, Co-Chair of the APPG on Liver Health, and Norman Lamb MP attending the launch of The Hepatitis C Trust’s ‘Patient Perspectives’ report, March 2017

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Norman Lamb MP, pictured with Rachel Halford, Deputy Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, at the launch of The Hepatitis C Trust’s ‘Patient Perspectives’ report, March 2017.

Baroness Randerson, Co-Chair of the APPG on Liver Health, pledging her support for a national improvement framework for hepatitis C at a parliamentary reception organised by the APPG, The Hepatitis C Trust and Hepatitis C Coalition, November 2015

The Hepatitis C Trust’s Rachel Halford with Liz McInnes MP, pledging their support for a national improvement framework for hepatitis C – parliamentary reception on hepatitis C and associated diseases, November 2015

Sir David Amess at the APPG on Liver Health / Lancet Commission on Liver Disease Parliamentary Reception, 27th October 2015

Baroness Masham of Ilton and Professor Roger Williams at the APPG on Liver Health / Lancet Commission on Liver Disease Parliamentary Reception, 27th October 2015

Virendra Sharma MP with The Hepatitis C Trust and local councillors for the Ealing awareness and testing event, World Hepatitis Day, 28th July 2015

Virendra Sharma MP at the launch of The Hepatitis C Trust’s ‘Uncomfortable Truth’ report, October 2013

Sadie Frost with a member of the Alcohol Concern team at the Liver Reception in Parliament, June 2012

Parliamentary reception to raise awareness of hepatitis C amongst the South Asian community, July 2011

Parliamentary reception to raise awareness of hepatitis C amongst the South Asian community, July 2011

Lord Parkinson speaking at World Hepatitis Day in Parliament, May 2010

Lord Parkinson and Ann Milton MP on World Hepatitis Day in Parliament, May 2010

A packed room in parliament for World Hepatitis Day, May 2010

Sadie Frost and Sir David Amess MP in Parliament for World Hepatitis Day, May 2010

The APPG on a visit to St Mary’s Liver Unit, December 2007