AN ANDOVER-based recovery worker has been given a prestigious national award.

Piers Anning has been working with the NHS’s Hep C Hants Peer 2 Peer group, and has been instrumental in the virtual elimination of Hepatitis C amongst people affected by drug and alcohol misuse in the town.

He’s also been working in a number of other towns and cities in the county, including Eastleigh and Winchester.

His work has seen him named ILLY Practitioner of the Year 2019, an award which acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding and inspiring work of practitioners, specifically the work they do changing the lives of individuals and families affected by substance misuse.

Speaking to the Advertiser, Piers said he was “delighted” to be recognised for his work.

He said: “I’m very honoured to have received this award and for having been recognised in this way. I work within a service that is making a real difference to peoples’ lives and I’m delighted to have been nominated for the work I do as part of the team.”

As part of the work that Piers has been involved with, he has identified that people were not attending their hospital appointments, helping obtain funding to run an outreach clinic in the town, building exceptional links within the local community.

He has also undertaken specialist training, working hard to engage and motivate people to be tested and then treated.

Hep C Hants Peer 2 Peer coordinator Louise Hansford, who nominated Piers, said: “Piers has been responsive to clients’ needs and has been instrumental in implementing changes across Eastleigh, Andover and now Winchester.

“He has worked hard to engage resistant clients, showing perseverance as well as emotional resilience.”

Presenting the award, David Clarke, from Illy Systems Ltd, said: “It was a difficult decision, but Piers stood out from the crowd by demonstrating successful team working, innovative client work, and making a real, positive impact in the wider community.”

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which most commonly affects the liver. Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact, such as sharing unsterilised needles. Intravenous drug use is the most common way to contract the virus and it is estimated that around half of people who inject drugs in England have, at some point, been infected. Hepatitis C doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. As a result, a person may have the virus without realising it.