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GPs told to press for PGEA payment

GPs face a new Government action plan on hepatitis C 'in the dark' over the disease and unsure how they will be paid for the expected surge in requests for testing.

The Government announc-ed a massive public awareness campaign last week to persuade many of the esti-

mated 160,000 unidentified sufferers in England to come forward for a test.

Testing facilities will be provided in general practice, genitourinary clinics and drug treatment centres.

But Professor Howard Thomas, chair of the Government's advisory group on hepatitis, told Pulse many GPs were 'in the dark about what hepatitis C was and what the consequences were'.

He said the awareness campaign would target doctors as well as members of the public.

An average of 14 patients per practice may be affected without knowing it and GPs face having to offer pre-test counselling on the consequences of infection, with referral to secondary care for those who are positive.

But the GPC said the contract meant that if PCTs wanted extra work done, they would have to pay GPs for it.

An education package for GPs is available at:

www.hepc.nhs.uk

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