Over the past three years, the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine has conducted a trial of hepatitis C (HCV) treatment initiation in general practice. A qualitative evaluation of the trial by CSRH occurred during 2011. All seven GPs who participated in the trial routinely treated patients with alcohol and other drug problems. The GPs’ reasons for becoming involved in HCV treatment prescribing included a desire to better target people who needed HCV treatment. GPs believed they could provide a treatment service that was responsive to patients’ needs and reported that their shared-care arrangements with liver clinics worked well during the trial. GPs highlighted several minor problems, such as responsibility for PCR testing, and some patients of GPs had had difficulty accessing drug dispensing points. This evaluation also found that all of the nine patients who participated in the trial reportedly valued the trust they had built with their GPs and appreciated the convenience of reduced waiting times and not having to travel long distances to access treatment. HCV treatment through general practice is a viable model and ongoing training of GPs is needed to facilitate uptake of new HCV treatments.
Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, NSW Health