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About us

Who we are

The HCV Action Steering Group members include consultant hepatologists, hepatitis C nurse specialists, GPs with a special interest in hepatology, patients and pharmaceutical industry representatives. The administration costs of HCV Action are funded by pharmaceutical industry partners, and The Hepatitis C Trust provides secretariat support.

Members of the HCV Action Steering Committee

Dr Steve Ryder (Chair), Consultant Hepatologist, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Biomedical Research Unit

Dr Steve Ryder chairs the HCV Action steering committee. He has worked as a consultant hepatologist in Nottingham since 1994, focusing on the therapy of hepatitis B and C infections and treatment of liver cancer. He has a research interest in the natural history of liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C infection, and is a major contributor to the Trent HCV Cohort study, informing several HPA reports and national strategy on hepatitis C management. Dr Ryder is the national lead for the Hepatology Special Interest group of the Clinical Research Network, with a significant role in co-ordinating and ensuring patient access to clinical trials for new hepatitis C therapies across the UK. He trained at St Mary’s Hospital and Kings College Hospital, London.

 

Dr Ken Armstrong, GP, Durham

Dr Armstrong studied medicine at Queens University, Belfast and qualified in 1988. As a junior doctor preparing for General Practice he spent extra time doing psychiatry attachments and obtained a diploma in mental health, becoming involved in the treatment of patients who engaged in substance misuse. He moved to England in 1999, and with three other GPs established a substance misuse clinic. As a result of this work he became particularly interested in hepatitis C and how GPs can become better educated about diagnosis and treatment.

 

Rachel Halford, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust

Rachel has over 20 years’ experience of working with people at high-risk of viral hepatitis, and liver disease generally – the homeless, prisoners, substance users and migrants – the past 18 years of which have been in senior management roles within the voluntary/ NGO sector. Rachel was CEO of Women in Prison, a national UK campaigning organisation that provides support and advocacy for women affected by the criminal justice system. Passionate about equality and human rights, Rachel joined The Hepatitis C Trust in 2015 as Deputy CEO and took over the role of CEO in July 2018.  Rachel is also the European representative on the World Hepatitis Alliance Board. Diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1998, Rachel cleared the disease after completing interferon treatment in 2007.

Kate Jack, Advanced Virology Nurse Specialist, Nottingham

Kate Jack has over 23 years professional experience in nursing, notably as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Viral Hepatitis at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and as an Advanced Virology Nurse Specialist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Kate is a Master of Public Health and a tutor for the Royal College of General Practitioners’ certificate in the detection, diagnosis and management of hepatitis B and C in primary care, parts 1 and 2. She was involved in the development of the RCGP Guide to the Management of Hepatitis C in General Practice (2007) and has co-authored papers including ‘Hepatitis C therapy at home: A hospital and home care partnership’ for the British Journal of Nursing. Kate is currently on secondment to undertake an NIHR-funded Masters in Research Methodology, and is working as a research nurse on a study of injecting drug users undertaking hepatitis C antiviral treatment.

 

Dr Stephen Willott, GP, Nottingham

Dr Stephen Willott leads on GP engagement for HCV Action. He is a GP in inner-city Nottingham, where he also works for NHS Nottingham City as the clinical lead for drug and alcohol misuse. As a GP and working at the Nottingham Friary Drop-In centre for the homeless, Dr Willott regularly sees patients at high risk of blood-borne virus infection including hepatitis C. By offering testing, treatment and support in the community, he has helped to address issues of inequality and social exclusion among the 180 drug users that attend the drop-in, of whom around 25% have hepatitis C. He is vice chair and drugs lead for the RCGP Sex, Drugs and BBV group, and holds part one and two of the RCGP hepatitis C certificate. At the beginning of the millennium, he spent 3 years in Thailand establishing an HIV/AIDS programme in Monorom Christian Hospital, Chainat. 

 

Helen Hampton, BBV Lead Nurse, Addaction

In 2004 Helen Hampton qualified as a Registered General Nurse in her home county of Cornwall. She worked at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH) as a surgical nurse on the vascular ward and the surgical admissions unit.

Helen worked with Cornwall Drug and Alcohol Team (2007-2012) running a successful HCV treatment service in primary care offering treatment and support to a community that can feel isolated, marginalised and socially excluded. In 2012 she joined Addaction in a new developing role and has an honorary prescribing contract with RCH enabling her to continue with her passion: treating HCV in the community.

Helen was presented with a 'highly commended' certificate on behalf of the team for 'best treatment pathway initiative' at the Quality in Care 2014 Hepatitis C awards. In 2015 she was awarded the Queen's Nurse Title in recognition of her community work.