To ensure a more effective response to viral hepatitis, we recommend the next elected Australian Government implements the following actions as soon as possible.
- Provide additional Federal funding to effectively implement the National Hepatitis B Strategy;
- Introduce targets for hepatitis B testing and treatment and monitor these through new indicators in the National Health Reform Agreements;
- Provide Federal funding for hepatitis B awareness and testing programs targeting people from high-prevalence migrant communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- Redistribute existing Federal funding for hepatitis B awareness and early clinical intervention programs to support increased monitoring and treatment access for people from high-prevalence migrant communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- Expand Federal funding for hepatitis B vaccination programs to ensure national consistency and include every adolescent and adult at higher risk of infection;
- Ensure that accessibility to needle and syringe programs matches demand and does not dissipate over time;
- Increase accountability of Federal funds allocated for the delivery of needle and syringe programs at the State and Territory level;
- Commit to fast-tracking the approval process for new hepatitis C medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to ensure the prompt listing of new hepatitis C medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme;
- Introduce measurable targets for hepatitis C treatment together with appropriate monitoring and robust accountability systems; and
- Fund the development of best practice, multi-disciplinary and holistic care pathways that are inclusive of new forms of treatment and responsive to the needs of people with hepatitis C.