Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Policy and Communications at the British Liver Trust, met with Minister for Health and Secondary Care, Will Quince MP, on a visit to biotech company Ochre Bio at their Oxford site on 31 July. The visit was an opportunity to raise a range of policy issues with the Minister and discuss how we can improve outcomes and care for liver disease and liver cancer patients.
Ochre Bio specialises in developing therapies, from increasing donor liver supply to reducing cirrhosis complications, and technologies to improve the viability of liver transplants. Their research aims to deliver a step change in improving access to liver transplants by increasing the pool of viable livers for transplant. The Minister’s visit was a chance to share the research and innovation being developed by Ochre-Bio and to discuss a range of liver disease population health challenges facing the UK.
Vanessa Hebditch said:
“The visit was a fantastic opportunity to discuss a wide range of policy issues impacting liver disease and liver cancer patients with the Minister, Will Quince. Our conversation touched on how to improve access to FibroScan services in Community Diagnostic Centres, improving the early detection of liver disease and encouraging more research and innovation.
We look forward to working with the Minister to deliver on a range of issues and specifically to boost NHS diagnostic capacity for the early detection of liver disease.”
The Minister’s portfolio was recently expanded to cover major diseases, including cancer and diabetes. The meeting provided an opportunity to highlight the link between Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease, and to inform the Minister that the biggest risk factor for liver cancer is having pre-existing liver disease - meaning the early diagnosis of liver disease not only reduces liver disease rates but prevents liver cancer developing too.
Vanessa Hebditch also thanked the Minster for his commitments, made on behalf of the Government, at the Westminster Hall debate on fatty liver disease and obesity in June. During the debate Mr Quince highlighted that he was keen to see what can be done to boost diagnostic capacity to improve the earlier detection of liver disease, which will improve population health.