Premature deaths from chronic liver disease in Wales have more than doubled in the last 20 years. While there have been improvements in mortality from most other chronic disorders, such as stroke, heart disease, and many cancers, the number of deaths from liver disease has increased by more than 400% in people aged under 65. There is also wide variation in care with some people in Wales having difficulty accessing the care that they need.
The UK’s leading liver health charity, the British Liver Trust, has published a bilingual patient charter for patients with liver disease in Wales. The charter, which is supported and endorsed by the UK’s professional bodies, sets out the standard of care that all patients with a liver condition should expect.
Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Policy and Communications at the British Liver Trust, says: “The feedback that we’ve received from our patient survey, our helpline, support groups, online forum and roadshows highlights the variation of care across the UK.
“We want patients and carers in Wales to be well informed about the care they should expect and empowered to demand better care if needed.
“The charter acts as a tool for patients to prompt discussion of their care with their medical team. We’ve worked with a wide range of healthcare professionals, patient groups and lay reviewers to develop it.”
The charter is available for all patients, carers and healthcare professionals to order for free and to view on the British Liver Trust website and download at: Welsh Patient Charter
Over the last two years, the British Liver Trust's work in Wales has focussed on supporting the delivery of the Welsh Government’s ‘Together for Health: Liver Disease Delivery plan 2015 – 2020.
The charter was developed in association with British Association for the Study of the Liver, British Society of Gastroenterology and British Liver Nurses’ Association.