Journal Article

Gazing into the Scarlet Crystal Ball: Social Work and Hepatitis C

Ian Paylor and Heather Mack

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 7, pages 2291-2307
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online November 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Gazing into the Scarlet Crystal Ball: Social Work and Hepatitis C

Show Summary Details


This paper presents arguments for recognising and tackling Hepatitis C (HCV) as a major challenge for social work. Despite repeated warnings from a variety of sources and thousands of new infections each year, successive governments have failed to address a public health emergency of immense proportions—the HCV epidemic. The implications for social work are significant. Social care workers, particularly those working with physically disabled adults or older adults, will find themselves with vastly increased caseloads as HCV diagnoses increase. This will necessitate them being able to adequately support families in a non-judgemental and non-stigmatising manner, which will mean a significant expansion of training and awareness-raising among professionals, in addition to strong inter-agency links and a transparent integrated care pathway.

Keywords: Hepatitis C; social work; drug use; epidemic

Journal Article.  6394 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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