Skip to NavigationSkip to content

National strategy planned to tackle liver disease

Published on 22/10/09 at 10:36am

A 'liver czar' is to be brought into the Department of Health to develop and oversee an effective strategy to combat liver disease.

The recruitment process for the new national clinical director has not yet started, but they are expected to be in post "in the next few months", the government said.

The disease currently costs the NHS £460 million a year and health minister Ann Keen said it was affecting people at an increasingly young age.

The new appointee "will ensure that clinical evidence and outcomes for patients are at the heart of our work to improve the quality of services to tackle liver disease", she added.

The government believes identifying people earlier and encouraging them to modify their behaviour are crucial if the rise in cases is to be stopped.

Liver disease is largely preventable and can be treated if diagnosed sufficiently early, but getting the right services in place will also be key.

Although it can be caused by viral hepatitis, excessive iron and some rare disorders, the most common causes of liver disease are lifestyle factors - heavy drinking and obesity.

Managing obesity is already the focus of two recent Department of Health campaigns, Know Your Limits and Change4Life, part of a £372m investment to tackle the issue.

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a growing concern amongst liver specialists, the government warns.

Currently the fifth most common cause of death in England, liver disease could overtake stroke and coronary heart disease as a killer in the next two decades, the government says.

The British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) welcomed the announcement of a national strategy.

The organisation's secretary Rajiv Jalan said: "We hope that its implementation will help to stem the rising burden of liver disease in the UK."

BASL is keen to feed through findings from its own recent report, A Time To Act: Improving liver health and outcomes in liver disease, which it produced with the British Society for Gastroenterology Liver Section.

"We believe these recommendations will provide a solid foundation for the national liver strategy," said Jalan.

The average age of death from liver disease is 59, compared to 82 for heart disease and 84 for stroke.


Mission Statement is a leading portal for the pharmaceutical industry, providing industry professionals with pharma news, pharma events, pharma service company listings and pharma jobs,
Site content is produced by our editorial team exclusively for and our industry newspaper Pharmafocus. Service company profiles and listings are taken from our pharmaceutical industry directory, Pharmafile, and presented in a unique Find and Compare format to ensure the most relevant matches