Thank you for contacting me about liver disease and the British Liver Trust’s “Making Early Diagnosis Routine” campaign.
It is troubling that the number of premature deaths from liver disease rose from 9,218 in 2019 to 10,127 in 2020. At a national level, the Office for Health Improvement is seeking to address this through interventions to reduce alcohol consumption.
Around 90 per cent of liver deaths are related to lifestyle and unhealthy environments with the vast majority of these being alcohol related, and it is these diseases that are responsible for mortality from liver disease mortality increasing four fold over the last few decades. That is why it is so important that this year’s Love Your Liver Awareness Month focused on the importance of lifestyle change to prevent liver disease.
The campaign specifically addresses the work of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and it is their responsibility to commission and implement pathways for conditions like liver disease.
You may be interested to know that the Health and Care Bill, currently progressing through Parliament, will place duties on Integrated Care Boards to commission a range of health services for their local area.
Alongside this work, NHS England is establishing liver networks in England, which will enable quicker access to specialised liver services, as well as providing additional clinical advice on disease prevention and referral practice.
In March 2020, guidance on liver disease was published, which is designed to promote awareness among clinicians, supporting them to increase understanding with their patients, and to help them to be proactive identifying risk factors.
More can, and will, be done to tackle liver disease, and I will continue to monitor this issue closely.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.