GPs can manage patients with genotype 1 or genotype 3 hepatitis C so long as those patients do not have cirrhosis, says Dr David Iser, a gastroenterologist and herpetologist at St Vincent’s Hospital.
However, under Medicare guidelines, GPs must consult with a specialist who is experienced in this area, such as a gastroenterologist, an infectious diseases physician, or a general physician with expertise in the treatment of hepatitis C.
“Not all specialists in those areas have treated hepatitis C within their practice,” says Dr Iser.
The patient does not have to book a separate appointment with a specialist; the GP can consult with the specialist via fax, telephone or telehealth consultation.
“There has to be some sort of discussion with the specialist to make sure that the appropriate patient is being treated with the appropriate combination of medication for their particular hepatitis C genotype,” says Dr Iser.