14 June 2024

Via – Merton achieves micro-elimination of Hepatitis C 

Our Merton colleagues.


We’re excited to announce that our Merton service has successfully reached the impressive milestone of Hepatitis C micro-elimination! 

NHS England and Via are aligned with achieving micro-elimination in our services to aid in the World Health Organisation target of elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030. 

Hep C is a blood borne virus which, left untreated, can cause liver cancer and liver failure. It usually displays no symptoms until the virus damages the liver enough to cause liver disease. People who inject drugs are at the highest risk of becoming infected. 

As of May 2024, our team in Merton has reached the following targets with the people who use their service: 

  • 100% of those in treatment have been offered a Hep C test 
  • 100% of people who currently inject or have previously injected have been tested for Hep C 
  • 90% of individuals who currently inject or have previously injected have been tested in the last 12 months 
  • 90% of people who were diagnosed with Hep C at the service have started treatment 

By meeting these targets, we’re proud to report that Via – Merton has formally achieved Hep C micro-elimination! 

In partnership with Gilead Sciences, The Hepatitis C Trust, staff and volunteers at all our Via services have been working tirelessly to promote testing and treatment with the people they work with, on their journey to micro-eliminate Hep C, and we hope to be able to continue the announcements of more micro-elimination wins! 

Russel Styles, Director of Public Health London Borough of Merton said: “Merton is committed to eliminating hepatitis C as a major public health threat by 2030 in line with the UK target. It is very positive that Via are making excellent progress in this endeavour. 

With modern treatments it is usually possible to cure this infection and most people with it will have a normal life expectancy. I therefore strongly encourage the uptake of Hepatitis C testing and then treatment when this is offered.” 

Alex Hatfield, Service Manager at Via Merton said: “I am delighted to hear that the Via Merton service have achieved our target of Hep C micro-elimination. Our clinical and non-clinical staff have worked hard to ensure this goal was accomplished. 

“Importantly, with the medical advances in this field in recent years, highly successful treatment options with few if any side effects, are now available. It has only been through a thorough testing programme at Via Merton, that we could refer people who use our services on for these treatments to improve their quality of life, and thus reduce the risk of infection from this disease in the wider public domain. 

I would therefore like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all the staff that took part in this programme.”  

Tom Sackville, Executive Director of Services said: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached this hugely important milestone in Merton. The team and partners have worked really hard to make sure Hepatitis C information, testing and treatment is readily available and accessible to all who use our services. This has made a really positive difference to people’s health and lives. The achievement of Hep C micro-elimination is something Via Merton is really proud of.” 

Ben Lander, Peer Lead at The Hepatitis C Trust said: “I am very proud of all we have managed to accomplish together at Via Merton, the effort that everyone has put into spreading awareness of Hepatitis C, and getting closer to our ultimate goal of eliminating Hepatitis C by 2030.” 

Laura Letham, Clinical Nurse Specialists – Viral Hepatitis at St. Georges Hospital said: “Reaching this point of micro elimination at Via Merton has been a team effort. At times this has been challenging, but it gives me great pleasure to know that the clients have received the treatment they need despite the obstacles they may face. Hep C trust peer lead Ben Lander has been invaluable in this process and his testing sessions have undoubtedly helped to get Via over the line. We have established a strong working relationship with Via Merton which I hope will continue as we evolve our services.” 

Marlon Freeman, National Hepatitis C Coordinator at Via said: “Via Merton has worked tirelessly to provide testing, education, and resources for blood-borne viruses (BBVs) to people who use our services. Our team has collaborated closely with The Hepatitis C Trust and the Hepatology team at St George’s Hospital to conduct numerous testing events, which have been crucial to our success. We are committed to continuing our efforts towards Hepatitis C micro-elimination, making it a fundamental part of our harm reduction services and promoting healthier lives.”