Startling new data released today by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities has sounded alarm bells for the British Liver Trust. The data reveals a shocking 22% increase in liver disease hospital admissions in England in one year.
The new data released today shows
- the number of admissions to hospital where the primary diagnosis was liver disease rose by 22.0% in the financial year ending 2022. There were 82,290 admissions in 2022 compared to 67,458 in 2021.
- hospital admissions due to liver disease have increased by almost 47% compared to 10 years ago
- there is huge variation with up to a 4-fold difference in admission rates for liver disease across the country
- at a regional level, overall rates of liver disease admissions to hospital remain highest in the north of England with the Northeast having the highest rates
- the number of admissions to hospital where the primary diagnosis was alcoholic liver disease rose by 11.7%
The data also highlights significant variation across the country. People in deprived groups in England are more likely to develop, be hospitalised by, and die from liver disease than the most affluent.
Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Policy at the British Liver Trust, said "These figures once again demonstrate how action is needed. The British Liver Trust is calling for a prompt and comprehensive review of adult liver services to address the huge variation and inequalities in liver disease treatment outcomes and care. The surge in hospital admissions emphasises the urgent need for immediate action to tackle the growing burden of liver disease on the NHS and society as a whole."
Liver disease often remains silent in its early stages, exhibiting minimal to no symptoms. Liver disease is almost entirely preventable with the major risk factors: alcohol, obesity and hepatitis B and C accounting for up to 90% of cases. Alarmingly, three-quarters of people are diagnosed with cirrhosis, the most severe form of liver disease, when it is often too late for effective intervention or treatment. If diagnosed early, disease progression can be halted and sometimes reversed.
Recognising the severity of the situation, the British Liver Trust urgently calls upon the government to prioritise investment in prevention and early diagnosis of liver disease. Vanessa Hebditch adds, "Addressing the root causes of liver disease, such as alcohol misuse and obesity, should be at the forefront of the government's agenda. By allocating resources to education, raising awareness, and promoting healthier lifestyles, we can collectively work towards reducing the burden of liver disease and improving the well-being of individuals across the country."
The British Liver Trust urges the government to take immediate action to address this pressing issue. Investing in prevention programs, promoting healthier choices, and enhancing early diagnosis strategies are essential steps to curtail the rising tide of liver disease and safeguard the wellbeing of the nation.
For more information and resources please visit the British Liver Trust's website at www.britishlivertrust.org.uk.
The public health data on liver disease outcomes released today has been provided by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/liver-disease-profiles-july-2023-update/liver-disease-profiles-july-2023-update