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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 4795..

Answers to questions

Alexander Maconochie Centre—hepatitis C treatment program (Question No 1738)

Mr Hanson asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 24 August 2011:

(1) What was the total number of (a) prisoners at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) who were confirmed as having the Hepatitis C virus, and (b) of treatment places available in the AMC Health Centre for prisoners with Hepatitis C, as at 22 August 2011.

(2) What are the criteria for prisoners to gain admission to the Hepatitis C treatment program at the AMC.

(3) What is the total number of prisoners that (a) were awaiting assessment for the treatment program, and (b) had been assessed as suitable for the treatment program, and were awaiting admission, as at 22 August 2011.

Ms Gallagher: I am advised that the answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) As at 22 August 2011, the total number of prisoners who have provided consent to be tested and confirmed as being Hepatitis C positive is 93.

(b) There are 10 Hepatitis C treatment places available within the AMC at any one time. Clients are initiated into care jointly by Justice Health and the Gastroenterology Clinic at the Canberra Hospital in accordance with the Shared Care model developed by the Australian Society of HIV Medicine.

(2) Each client is assessed on their clinical presentation so may meet some or all of the below criteria.

* Hepatitis C infection for 15-20 years (or the client does not know when they first got Hepatitis C);

* Liver function test (Alanine Transaminase (ALT) levels are high);

* Genotypes 2 and 3 have better treatment outcomes with current treatment, and are therefore prioritized;

* Non-obese patients have better outcomes, and are therefore prioritised; obese candidates are encouraged to lose weight.

(3) (a) There are 33 prisoners awaiting assessment for the treatment program.

(b) There are eight prisoners who have been assessed as suitable for treatment and are awaiting admission to the treatment program.

The patients "awaiting assessment for the treatment programs"and those "awaiting admission to the treatment program"are monitored with liver function testing at periods between 6 and 12 months. If there is a change in severity of the secondary liver effects, then re-prioritisation occurs in consultation with the Gastroenterology clinic at the Canberra Hospital. This is consistent with community standards.

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