Press Release

Appointment of the Consultative Council on Hepatitis C

The Minister is re-establishing the Consultative Council on Hepatitis C for a 3 year term. He has reduced the number of members on the Council from 16 to 8. Each of the four support groups representing people who have been infected with Hepatitis C through blood and blood products will be asked to nominate representatives to be members of the Council. The support groups are the Irish Haemophilia Society, Transfusion Positive, Positive Action and Irish Kidney Association.

The Council has been in place since 1996 and has made a significant impact on the provision of appropriate services for persons with Hepatitis C. The Minister said “I value the advice provided by the Council on this important area and I wish to acknowledge my thanks to successive members of the Council for its work to date”.

This includes the provision of a comprehensive range of services by the HSE under the Health Amendment Act Card and publication of a guide to services, the provision of an insurance support scheme, the establishment of a national database on Hepatitis C, and annual information days for persons with Hepatitis C.

Professional Involvement in Council activities

Most recently the Irish Hepatitis C Outcomes Research Network (ICORN), chaired by Prof. Suzanne Norris, has been established to oversee guidelines and clinical protocols for management of all patients with Hepatitis C. Its membership includes the key professionals involved in the provision of care for persons with Hepatitis C. The HSE’s National Coordinator for Hepatitis C, Ms Michele Tait, is a member of Clinical Advisory Group of ICORN.

Ms Tait, whom the Minister intends to appoint as Chairperson of the Council will be the link person between the Council and ICORN.

The Minister said “The four support groups, members of which I will be appointing to the Consultative Council on Hepatitis C, have made and will continue to make a valuable contribution in shaping and advising on our health services. Through the statutory forum the Council will continue to advise me on all aspects of Hepatitis C, while at the same time giving leadership and assistance to people with Hepatitis C and their families”. The Council will still be in a position to invite clinicians and other relevant experts to work with it, as the need arises. It will also continue to report annually to the Minister.