Name: Megan Peat.
Job: Hepatitis C social worker, social work department, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield.
Job description: I offer advice, information, support and counselling to people affected by hepatitis C.
Skills/qualifications needed: Degree in social work.
What’s the job like? I am the only full-time hepatitis C specialist social worker in the UK and my job is a collaboration between social services and the NHS. The Department of Health praised my role as a model for improving practice. The work is challenging and exciting. Clients are diverse and often have a range of issues. Hepatitis C is a virus that can damage the liver. An estimated 200,000 in England have hepatitis C and most are unaware they do, which is unfortunate as it can be treated.
I offer practical and emotional assistance to people affected by hepatitis C, from pre and post test discussion to financial, housing and employment advice. I provide information about hepatitis C, including harm reduction and treatment. Much of my week is spent in direct client contact but attending meetings, conferences and training is also essential.
I work very closely with specialist nurses and a clinical psychologist, who are vital in preparing and supporting people through treatment.
Providing a supportive, non-judgemental service for clients is important. Many have current or previous substance misuse issues. Referral and liaison with drugs and alcohol agencies is an integral part of my job.
I offer training and support to interested professionals from other agencies, to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of hepatitis C. I will shortly be taking on a final year social work student and expanding my role to include practice teaching.
More info about hepatitis C www.hepc.nhs.uk