Campaign update – and a BIG thank you!

Posted on: 17th October 2022

The British Liver Trust has been making great progress with our make early diagnosis of liver disease routine campaign, which we launched in Parliament back in April 2022.

The focus of this ongoing campaign is on pushing for the earlier detection of liver disease and on improving liver disease health outcomes nationwide. The British Liver Trust’s objective is to ensure health bodies have ways of detecting and diagnosing liver disease earlier – ultimately saving lives.

We have been overwhelmed by the campaign support we have received. Since the launch of the campaign, thanks to the 30,000 signatures we received in response to our petition and through our continued political outreach, we have been able to spotlight our campaign and move the topic of earlier diagnosis of liver disease and liver cancer up the political agenda. Just last week we held our first ever Westminster Hall debate on Diagnosis of Liver Disease and Liver Cancer. The event was well attended by MPs from various political parties and our campaign was a focal point of this debate, alongside the levelling up agenda.

Watch the full debate below.  

Speaking about the Westminster Hall debate, Pam Healy, CEO of the British Liver Trust said:

“I was delighted to attend the Westminster Hall debate and to hear cross-party MPs acknowledge the disparities in access to liver disease services and make reference to our campaign to Make Early Diagnosis of Liver Disease Routine. Shockingly, only 26% of local health bodies in the UK have a full patient care pathway in place for the early detection and management of liver disease. If the Government is going to deliver on its ambition to ‘level up’ health, it's crucial that every ICS and Health Board across the UK have established an effective pathway in place. This debate would not have been possible without the continuous support from patients – helping to raise awareness among politicians of the incomplete liver disease pathways across the country.”

Pam Healy, CEO of the British Liver Trust

Pamela Healy, CEO of the British Liver Trust outside of Westminster following the debate.

Our amazing supporters have written over 700 letters to 380 MPs and MSPs in relation to the campaign – helping to petition for improved liver disease pathways. Thanks to these letters of support, over 31 MPs and MSPs have written to their local health bodies putting political pressure on them to respond and take action.

As a result of your letters and our engagement work with MPs and MSPs across the UK, our campaign has now progressed to the next stage – and we have now started to meet with health bodies, clinicians, and Public Health Directors to discuss how we advance and improve pathways in their area.

The British Liver Trust is currently in conversation with 15 health bodies, and last month we had our first meetings with the Cheshire and Merseyside ICS and Lancashire & South Cumbria ICS at our Liverpool and Preston Roadshows - which were great opportunities to make changes and improve outcomes for liver disease patients. In Liverpool, our team also spoke with clinicians about some Liverpool based trials.

Great to see Dr Fiona Lemmens from Cheshire and Merseyside ICS at the Labour Party Conference Roadshow with Pam Healy OBE, Chief Executive, British Liver Trust and Paul Richardson, a consultant hepatologist.

Great to see Dr Fiona Lemmens from Cheshire and Merseyside ICS at the Labour Party Conference Roadshow with Pam Healy OBE, Chief Executive, British Liver Trust and Paul Richardson, a consultant hepatologist.

The Roadshows have provided a perfect opportunity for us to engage with key decision-makers and our team have recently met with the Directors of Public Health for Blackpool Council, Walsall Council and Lancashire County Council. Looking ahead, next month we have a meeting with the Director of Public Health Coventry, which we expect will be an insightful and productive conversation.

The campaign continues to move forward at a great pace with further meetings confirmed with four more health bodies. We also hope to encourage further political engagement at our remaining ‘Love Your Liver Roadshows in 2022.

The British Liver Trust’s supporters have been critical to the ‘Make Early Diagnosis of Liver Disease Routine’ campaign.  While change takes time and this campaign is a long-term strategic priority, we are already seeing the impact that letters from constituents can have on MPs and the ‘domino effect’ of MPs subsequently writing to their local ICS/Health Board.

We have already had a win - We are thrilled to report that one of the Scottish Health Boards (NHS Lothian) has now put a full pathway for the early detection and management of liver disease in place which is fantastic news! We will be updating our map to show this in due course.

Thank you so much to all of those who have already written to their MP. If you haven’t already done so, please write. This can be done by using the simple tool on our website, in-putting your postcode, following the prompts and sending the pre-written email.

Thank you for your continued support and for everything you have done to help us achieve these campaign milestones. Without you we really could not have done this.