Our Work with Primary Care

Primary care practitioners have a key role to play in driving the early detection of liver disease.

The British Liver Trust is supporting GPs and primary care professionals to deliver care to patients with a range of resources, materials and best practice guidance. We want to help make liver disease prevention, detection and treatment a central part of routine healthcare in GP practices.

HCP Newsletter

The British Liver Trust sends a quarterly healthcare professional update, containing news, articles and links of specific interest to professionals in clinical practice. You can sign up to receive these emails:

RESOURCES FOR PRIMARY CARE

Our resources for GPs were developed in conjunction with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) as part of our work with them on a liver disease clinical priority programme, aiming to:

  •  Raise awareness amongst GPs, primary care nurses and patients of the key risk factors for liver disease, including alcohol misuse, obesity, and viral hepatitis
  • Improve early detection of all types of liver disease and ensure that patients receive appropriate intervention and treatment
  • Provide practitioners with information on interventions to reduce risk factors and therefore prevent liver disease developing
  • Develop and encourage the use of clear early identification, management and treatment pathways and common GP systems for alcohol-related liver disease, viral hepatitis and non-alcohol related fatty liver disease with the aim of using referral to secondary care in the most effective way
  • Disseminate clear guidelines, toolkits, resources and learning materials to GPs and provide e-learning and workshops
  • Ensure that primary care clinical coding systems provide an effective means for the recording of liver disease to facilitate both clinical care and data retrieval for audit and research

 

Liver disease toolkit 

The aims of the British Liver Trust/RCGP Liver Clinical Priority Project are to raise awareness of liver disease as an increasingly important cause of morbidity and mortality in the UK and to provide resources to support its optimal management in primary care.

This section contains articles and resources for primary care practitioners on liver disease, its impact, its risk factors and prevention, its early diagnosis and its management.

Resources are currently being developed for the following areas: 

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • End of life care in liver disease
  • Care after a transplant
  • Other viral hepatitis: A D and E
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Hepatitis A and B immunisation
  • Other liver diseases (including autoimmune and metabolic diseases)

These articles are produced by the RCGP and provide opportunities for ‘bite-sized’ learning.

This top tips document supports implementation of recommendations in the NICE guideline on cirrhosis in over 16s in July 2017.

Practical implications for primary care: NICE guideline NG49. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease assessment and management (2016). This top tips document supports implementation of recommendations in the NICE guideline on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in July 2016.

Clinical News, Dr Jez Thompson, British Liver Trust/RCGP Clinical Champion Liver Disease

Recommended Read Codes for primary care

Read Codes for liver disease are suggested for both SystmOne and EMIS/Vision users. Good use of the Read codes will support effective audit.

Review your practice – Ideas for audit and reflection?

These links contain ideas and suggestions to help you reflect on your clinical practice relating to liver disease. Are you equipped to identify patients with risk factors for liver disease and to help them reduce their risk? Are you equipped to identify and manage early liver disease?

  • RCGP Hepatitis B and C eLearning course. This course helps understand the epidemiology of hepatitis B and C and how to assess the risk of both conditions for a patient. It informs treatment options for hepatitis C, and their success rates. After completing the course the learner will be ale to confidently refer or re-referred patients with hepatitis B and C, to secondary care in view of changes in treatment options.
  • RCGP Hepatitis C: Enhancing Prevention,Testing and Care course. This course provides an understanding of hepatitis C and its prevalence. It also gives an overview of the liver and its function, and the stages and natural history of untreated hepatitis C liver disease.
  • RCGP SMAH alcohol certificate course. This course helps practitioners to improve their understanding of alcohol-related problems and equip themselves with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage them. It consists of a compulsory e-learning module followed by a face to face training day.  
  • HCV Action educational film: Detecting & managing hepatitis C in primary care. This educational resource was developed in a partnership between the RCGP, HCV Action and The Hepatitis C Trust, and is primarily aimed at GPs and other primary care staff. It aims to support the viewer by increasing their knowledge about the virus, and by building confidence in diagnosing people and supporting them through treatment.
  • British Association for the Study of the Liver. Access information regarding BASL organised events, BASL endorsed events and other educational events related to hepatology.
  • Primary Care Society for gastroenterology courses and conferences. The PCGS holds major educational events throughout the year, giving those involved in Primary Care a chance to hear from leading experts in gastroenterology and associated fields.
  • RCGP Courses and conferences. The RCGP runs extensive resources of conferences, courses, events and e-learning modules, many of which are relevant to the management of liver disease.
  • RCGP Very Brief Advice training. This e-learning module is aimed at healthcare professionals who would like to promote behaviour change in their patients to reduce their cancer risk, though is applicable to patients with risks in other areas. The module highlights the links between cancer and smoking, obesity and alcohol and supports leaning in delivery of very brief advice to promote behaviour change.

The British Liver Trust website has a section dedicated to healthcare professionals and researchers. There is information about:

All British Liver Trust information is written by, or rigorously assessed and reviewed by, medical specialists or other health care professionals and will be of value both to patients and practitioners. Many of these information documents are available in languages other than English.

The website has a range of other valuable information including how patients can access the British Liver Trust support line and information on patient support groups.

This section provides links to a range of organisations that work to prevent liver disease, to support those with liver disease, or provide resources and guidance to practitioners working with patients with liver disease.

British Liver Trust. The British Liver Trust is the leading UK liver disease charity, providing information and support for professionals, patients and carers; promoting prevention and early diagnosis of liver disease; funding and championing research; and campaigning for better services. In addition the Trust has an anonymous love your liver health screener that assesses the risks posed by alcohol, obesity and viral hepatitis and provides a print out of what you need to do and if need be what to discuss with your GP.

Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. The CLDF is a UK-wide charity that provides support, information research funds and a voice for all those affected by childhood liver disease.

Yellow Alert. Yellow alert is CLDF’s prolonged jaundice in newborn babies awareness campaign. Yellow Alert promotes the early diagnosis and appropriate referral for liver disease in newly born infants.

Alcohol Concern. Alcohol Concern’s aims are to help people concerned about their drinking by providing information and guidance, and to help professionals through training, projects and research.

Drinkline. Drinkline provides a national helpline to offer help and signposting for callers worried about their drinking, support for the family and friends of people who are drinking and links to information and self-help materials.

Alcohol Health Alliance. The Alcohol Health Alliance brings together more than 40 organisations that have a shared interest in reducing the damage caused to health by alcohol. Members include medical royal colleges, charities, patient representatives and alcohol health campaigners. Its aims are to highlight the rising levels of alcohol-related harm; propose evidence-based solutions to address the harms; and encourage decision makers to take positive action.

Obesity Health Alliance. The Obesity Health Alliance is a coalition of over 30 organisations who have joined together to fight obesity. Members include medical royal colleges, charities, campaigners and professional associations. The alliance works together to influence Government policy on overweight and obesity.

Hepatitis C Trust. The Hepatitis C Trust is a national UK charity supporting those with hepatitis C infection. It is a patient-led and patient-run organisation and most of its board, staff, and volunteers either have hepatitis C or have had it and have cleared it after treatment.

Hepatitis B positive. This organisation provides information for the public on hepatitis B infection.

Hepatitis Scotland. Hepatitis Scotland provides training for non-statutory organisations, information and support for patient involvement for those with hepatitis B or C infection in Scotland, and resources for health professionals.

British Association for the Study of the Liver. BASL is a multidisciplinary association with 850 members from medical, nursing and research backgrounds. It aims to advance knowledge about liver biology and pathology; disseminate research findings and promote clinical care of liver disease.

British Society of Gastroenterology. The British Society of Gastroenterology promotes the practice and study of gastroenterology within the United Kingdom. It has over three thousand members including physicians, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, scientists, nurses, dietitians, and others interested in the field. Internationally it is represented at World and European level.

PSC Support is the leading UK-based organisation for anyone affected by Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). They offer advice for patients, family members, healthcare providers and researchers. The Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Online Support Group is a group consisting of people with PSG and provides mutual support

Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology. The PCSG supports the practice of gastroenterology within primary care through providing guidelines, supporting research and educational events. Membership is free.

The RCGP is the professional membership body for family doctors in the UK and overseas. It is committed to improving patient care, clinical standards and GP training and offers resources for GPs in practice including CPD targeted towards liver disease.

If you have a liver problem yourself, or you are a health professional and one of your patients is worried about developing liver disease, has had an abnormal liver function test, has been diagnosed or is caring for a loved one with a liver condition or has questions about liver cancer, you will need access to jargon-free, patient-friendly, reliable information that has been checked by experts.

This section of the toolkit provides signposts to these resources. Much of the information is detailed and will useful for health care professionals as well as patients.

General Information

The British Liver Trust has a free patient helpline run by nurses with liver disease expertise.

Helpline: 0800 652 7330 (10am to 3pm Monday to Friday)

Liver Cancer Information

Hepatitis C Trust

The Hepatitis C Trust produces a range of materials and run a helpline on 0845 223 4424 or 020 7089 6221(10.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday). Alternatively, you can email helpline@hepctrust.org.uk

Patient leaflets on different liver conditions

The British Liver Trust has a full range of leaflets on the whole range of liver diseases that can be downloaded for free. The full range of leaflets can be downloaded for free here or your patient can order a free hard copy by calling 01425 481320.The most popular leaflets include: 

Liver disease often has no symptoms in the early stages. The British Liver Trust has developed a range of materials covering the risk factors for liver disease and the signs and symptoms of liver disease. They are free to order and include posters and leaflets for display in GP surgeries

Children’s Liver diseases

The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation has a range of suppport information and offers support on the different types of liver disease affecting children.

There are also local support groups and support groups for rarer types of liver disease 

Many local teams have led innovative and exciting developments in the prevention and management of liver disease in their areas across the UK, some of these are listed below.

If you’ve been involved in innovative or best practice in the management of liver disease and you would like to share details of your project, please complete the pro forma and email it to circ@rcgp.org.uk

The Bolton Alcohol Project

Teams in Bolton have developed integrated and collaborative changes that led to:

  • the creation of a consultant-led hospital based alcohol care team that has improved the care and reduced admissions for alcohol-related conditions
  • a primary care project that has been highly successful in identifying alcohol problems through screening with the AUDIT-C test and signposting patients to early interventions

Liver health screening in Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough has developed a ‘Live Well Centre’. The centre is a one-stop shop to support people in changing their lives for the better across a full spectrum of life issues. The project is specifically building in the identification of risk factors for liver disease together with signposting to further interventions as part of an opportunistic screening programme.

End of life care for patients with advanced liver disease

St Luke’s Hospice, Basildon, has worked collaboratively with local secondary care hepatology services to create a Shared Care Liver Project designed to meet the unmet needs of patients with advanced liver disease and to improve end of life care.

The Scarred Liver Project Nottingham

The Scarred Liver Project has developed an effective community-based diagnostic pathway for identifying liver disease which stratifies patients using validated non-invasive tests. GPs can refer patients with a defined risk factor for chronic liver disease directly for transient elastography (Fibroscan) before considering referral to secondary care. The aims of the project include improving the early detection of liver disease and providing brief lifestyle interventions for those attending for screening.

The St Mary’s Surgery Liver Project Southampton

The St Mary’s Surgery Southampton recognised that the patients in their large inner city practice were likely to have a high prevalence of liver disease. Having been part of the ‘Locate’ project the practice worked with local liver specialists to improve their identification and management of liver disease through the development of local clinical pathways and through direct GP access to transient elastography (TE).

The West Midlands Liver Health Work

Recognising higher than average liver disease mortality in the region, together with high levels of health inequality, local PHE leads have brought together services and organisations to address the human and financial costs arising from this. Through local workshops and the creation of a local network, the region has put in place strategies to improve the early detection of liver disease and improve the patient experience.

The Liver Matters Project

The ‘Liver Matters’ project has worked across the Birmingham South Central CCG to enhance the quality of life for people with alcohol related liver disease and their carer(s) and families, providing information and advice, liaising with treatment services, expanding social networks, and supporting end of life care.

The Glasgow Liver Support Service

The Glasgow Ambulatory Liver Support Service was set up with the aim of reducing re-admissions in patients admitted with decompensated cirrhosis by 20%. Focusing on three novel interventions: pre-discharge patient education; post-discharge review; and re-admission prevention strategies; it has been successful in achieving its goals.

Tayside iLFTs

Testing LFTs should be an opportunity to allow early diagnosis, but abnormal LFTs are often incompletely investigated. The Tayside iLFTs project developed an automated investigation algorithm, which maximises diagnosis of liver diseases.

Patient leaflets on different liver conditions

The British Liver Trust has a full range of leaflets on the whole range of liver diseases that can be downloaded for free. The full range of leaflets can be downloaded for free here or your patient can order a free hard copy by calling 01425 481320.The most popular leaflets include: 

Liver disease often has no symptoms in the early stages. The British Liver Trust has developed a range of materials covering the risk factors for liver disease and the signs and symptoms of liver disease. They are free to order and include posters and leaflets for display in GP surgeries

This section provides links to resources specifically aimed at commissioners. 

A financial case for action on liver disease has been developed by the Foundation for Liver Research and this report has been endorsed by the lancet commission on liver disease. 

Scotland

There is public health information for Scotland relating to:

Wales

There is information on the prevalence of a range of liver diseases in Wales.

England

In England NICE has produced a quality standard for the management of liver disease . This quality standard covers identifying, assessing and managing chronic liver disease in children, young people and adults, and cirrhosis in young people and adults. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.

NHS England has published a policy statement on the management of chronic Hepatitis C in patients with cirrhosis.

The Foundation for Liver Research has compiled customised liver disease profiles for each of the 533 parliamentary constituencies in England: 

Public Health England has developed an atlas that shows variation in healthcare for people with liver disease England

raising awareness

As part of RCGP/British Liver partnership, our Clinical Champion has written a number of articles and also presented at the RCGP main conference. Some of the articles are below:

Detecting liver disease in primary care: are we ready for change?

How can primary care enhance end-of-life care for liver disease?

Championing change in liver disease in primary care

PBC: In Practice

Guideline of the month: Abnormal LFTs

The British Liver Trust Love Your Liver campaign aims to raise awareness of the risk factors, prevent liver disease and improve early diagnosis.

Love Your Liver encourages adults to take three simple steps to good liver health – reduce alcohol consumption, improve diet and exercise, and reduce the risk of contracting viral hepatitis.

The British Liver Trust has developed a range of materials covering the risk factors for liver disease and the signs and symptoms of liver disease. They are free to order and include posters and leaflets for display in GP surgeries.

Order your Love Your Liver resources here.

Abnormal liver tests

These guidelines on the management of abnormal liver blood tests have been commissioned by the Clinical Services and Standards Committee (CSSC) of the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) under the auspices of the liver section of the BSG with input from a wide number of groups including the RCGP and the British Liver Trust.

They deal specifically with the management of abnormal liver blood tests in adults in both primary and secondary care under the following subheadings:

  1. What constitutes an abnormal liver blood test?
  2. What constitutes a standard liver blood test panel?
  3. When should liver blood tests be checked?
  4. Does the extent and duration of abnormal liver blood tests determine subsequent investigation?
  5. Response to abnormal liver blood tests.

They are not designed to deal with the management of the underlying liver disease.

Interpreting Abnormal Liver Blood Tests or LFTs – Guidelines [PDF]