The National Testing Policies are targeted toward health professionals ordering HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B tests and receiving, interpreting and delivering results to patients. They set out a framework for providing paulity testing and removing real and perceived barriers to testing. The web based provision of the policies allows for regular revision and access to related resources (eg related policies, operational guidelines, evidence of best practice) with download and print functions. We are also working on having the policies optimised for mobile accessing.
ASHM was contracted by the Department of Health (DoH) to coordinate the review of the HIV and HCV testing policies and to develop the new hepatitis B testing policy, and to develop this web portal. This project is now completed and with it DoH funding for this purpose. It is now up to ASHM to provide maintenance of these policies and to go through a rigorous process of review of content and continuous improvement to the delivery of the information.
The first task ASHM has undertaken is to formally endorse the draft/revised policies based on the work done by the Expert Reference Committees. The Board is also doing a review of the committee structures, terms of reference, membership, relationships with other bodies and mechanisms for endorsement. This has been necessitated because if the change of funding arrangements. Having direct control of the policies will considerably free ASHM to further develop and up-date the policies, as ASHM policies and then promulgate them to stakeholders with the view to stakeholder endorsement and/or reliance upon them.
We are uploading the current iterations which have been drafts and with the DOH for over 12 months. While circulated broadly as draft during that time that have been in limbo and of diminished political capital, despite the consensus agreement on the content by the ERC. We recognise there may be need for some immediate updating and the Board is taking advice on that. There are however very important inclusions in these documents which have hither to only been available in draft, for example increase support for self testing. This work will be progressing over the next few months.