About the campaign
Around a quarter of patients diagnosed in hospital die within 60 days in England and Wales. This has to stop.
The UK is facing a liver disease epidemic and unless we act now more people will die.
Since 1970, deaths due to liver disease have increased by an alarming 400%. This is in stark contrast to other major killer diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, in which the number of deaths have either remained stable or decreased.
A lack of awareness of the seriousness and prevalence of liver disease together with the stigma that often surrounds it means that it is consistently overlooked, underfunded and underresourced.
This is why we need to urgently Sound the Alarm on liver disease.
What’s the problem?
Provision and delivery of liver care services across the UK is variable, and this makes a major contribution to the marked differences in survival.
People with liver disease are diagnosed too late and thousands die unnecessarily without access to specialist care.
GPs need to be able to diagnose people with liver disease early and every person with cirrhosis should have access to specialist care.
What we are calling for?
The clock is ticking – we can’t afford to wait any longer. We must take action today to save lives in the future.
We’re calling on the government to agree to implement the following comprehensive set of clear recommendations to address the current issues with late diagnosis, access to support and lack of specialist care.
- Every GP practice should have an agreed way of finding patients at risk, testing, following up and managing, and referring to secondary care when necessary.
- The NHS (over 40’s) Health Check in England and other regular checks across the devolved nations should be routinely used to find those at risk.
- Automated processes need to be put in place in primary care to identify those at risk of liver disease, to include the correct blood tests and to manage appropriate follow-up.
- Every primary care provider to have direct access to a best practice fibrosis assessment.
- Every Trust to have alcohol care teams to support those who drink too much and to refer those who have alcohol related liver disease to specialised liver teams.
- Better access for people who are overweight to nutritional advice and weight management programmes.
- Every hospital should have a designated liver lead who can refer to a hepatologist or specialist centre if need be.
- More hepatology consultants are needed so every patient gets access to specialist support
- Every person with cirrhosis should have access to a specialist nurse.
- Improved awareness in A and E so those who are diagnosed in an emergency are immediately referred to a specialist to give them the best chance of survival.