A new community programme run by the Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand gives GPs in the Hawke’s Bay region the opportunity to host Fibroscan® clinics in their surgeries.
Fibroscans are simple tests that determine whether liver damage is present. It isone of the most important things someone living with hepatitis can do to assess the health of their liver. International guidelines recommend adults with hepatitis B have a Fibroscan to assess for liver disease progression.
The GP Fibroscan programme is starting in Hawke’s Bay to improve management of hepatitis in the region. It will then be rolled out in other regions. It aims to help GPs and hospital departments improve health outcomes for people with chronic HBV, inform patients about hepatitis B and the health of their liver, educate GP teams about testing and regular monitoring for chronic hepatitis and provide advice and referral to hospital specialists as needed.
The programme is part of the foundation’s ongoing work to support the 120,000 New Zealanders living with hepatitis. The foundation is supporting World Health Organisation’s target of eliminating global hepatitis by 2030. A key part of this work is raising awareness of hepatitis, and foundation CEO Susan Hay says the community Fibroscan programme will help with this.
“As part of the programme, Hepatitis Foundation nurses hold regular education sessions with GPs and practice nurses to help them better understand the monitoring people living with HBV require. Education sessions also help raise awareness of the importance of supported/shared care for people living with chronic HBV,” she says.
During these education sessions foundation nurses promote the availability of Fibroscans as a benefit of referring patients; newly diagnosed patients who are not yet enrolled with the foundation can be offered a Fibroscan.
© The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand 2016