Croydon residents can now access complete treatment for hepatitis without having to leave the borough with the opening of a new treatment service.

About 4,000 Croydon Residents have viral Hepatitis, which is higher than the national average. Many need treatment to be as convenient as possible because of the complexities associated with their infections.

Croydon University Hospital has now opened a new service where patients can access specialised treatment, significantly improving their chances of cure.

Dr Zinu Philipose, a consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist who led the establishment of the new services, said: “Hepatitis can linger for generations.

"It often remains hidden and untreated in Croydon, England and throughout the globe – often ending up with the burden of liver damage and its complications including fatal outcomes.

“Our new service means treatment is available on the doorstep of thousands of people who can benefit. We’ve made it as convenient as possible to help people who need care but whose lives may be complicated by drug addiction or other challenges.

“If you feel unwell and your GP says you may have one of these forms of Hepatitis, we are here to help and will give you treatment in confidence. It is quick, safe and very effective.”

Successful cures for Hepatitis C in particular have become available on the NHS, which should further encourage people to seek and maintain treatment.

The use of needles for recreational drug use accounts for more than half of all Croydon cases of Hepatitis C. The service’s location in the heart of Croydon is ideal for all patients, especially those vulnerable and trapped in a cycle of drug abuse.

Hepatitis B can affect up to one-in-ten people particularly in a non-UK setting and can be passed down through generations, so it is not uncommon among some of Croydon’s ethnically diverse communities. The Trust’s translation services, which offer professional interpreters and Language Line facilities, will be provided at the hepatitis clinics.

The service is a big step in the broader borough-wide project to improve care of liver disease, which is the fifth ‘big killer’ in England and Wales and the only major cause of death still increasing year-on-year.

After alcohol abuse, viral hepatitis is the biggest cause of liver disease. Fortunately, successful treatment and monitoring of viral Hepatitis can help prevent its progression to liver failure and liver cancer.