May 23
Reaching out to treat hepatitis

A new medical clinic is now open to receive referrals for Hepatitis C patients who require assessment, treatment and follow up services in Bathurst.

Dr Darryl MacKender and Dr Bruce McGarity will be seeing patients at the Division of General Practice on Durham St. Bathurst on Thursdays.

Patients can access further support at Bathurst Base Hospital on Monday-Friday from Hepatitis Nurse, Katherine McQuillan.

“I’ll be there to support patients through their treatment, and to monitor pathology results and side effects,” said Ms McQuillan.

“I will also provide links to allied health services, lifestyle education, and general support to people with Hepatitis C.”

Ms McQuillan said Hepatitis C is one of the most commonly reported notifiable diseases in Australia with an estimated 284,000 people exposed to Hepatitis C and approx 212,000 people living with chronic Hepatitis C. The Hepatits C virus is spread by blood-to-blood contact.

“Hepatitis C is the leading cause for liver transplant in Australia, which has a dire impact on peoples’ lives. Our priority is not only to treat Hepatitis patients, but to educate the entire community about steps they can take to protect their general health and wellbeing,” said Ms McQuillan.

“The launch of this new medical clinic is a great opportunity for people to be treated and to reduce the burden of liver disease on our community.”

Current treatment for Hepatitis C includes a combination of injections and tablets, with exciting advancements in recent years. The length of treatment varies from 24-48 weeks, with success rates of clearing the virus between 50-85%.

“Advancements in modern medicine mean people living with Hepatitis have a very real chance of leading normal and productive lives,” said Ms McQuillan.

“We now provide Hepatitis services in Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and Cowra, and encourage people to embrace an opportunity for treatment.”

All referrals can be directed to the Division of General Practioners, phone: (02) 6332 6646. Referral forms are available from the Central West Division of GP’s Website at http://www.cwdgp.org.au/page/About_Us/