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MPs are calling for better education of GPs on hepatitis C as part of a raft of recommendations to stem the 'tidal wave' of new cases.

The all-party parliamentary group on hepatology denounced the Government's record on the infection and said a national screening programme was needed.

The report, 'The Hepatitis C Scandal', said: 'An overriding requirement is for Government to demonstrate greater urgency in dealing with this "tidal wave" of disease.'

It said GPs needed to be made more aware of the signs and symptoms of hepatitis C 'as a matter of urgency' to encourage greater referral.

In London 30 per cent of patients with diabetes had abnormal liver tests, but only

1 per cent were being referred, MPs claimed.

One witness had written to London GPs and found four-fifths had little knowledge of the infection. 'Most of those were misinterpreting the results,' the report said.

The MPs criticised last year's Department of Health action plan on hepatitis C for failing to include targets.

David Amess MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group, said: 'This report highlights the need for the NHS, and for the PCTs within it, to move hepatitis C much further up the agenda.'

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