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Action needed on liver disease, alcohol – Chief Medical Officer

Comprehensive action is needed to stop the rising tide of liver disease, is one of the key findings to emerge from Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies first annual report on the state of the public health.

The report, which is the first of two volumes, provides a comprehensive picture of England’s health by bringing together a number of data sources in one place for the first time.  Liver disease and therefore alcohol are necessarily highlighted in the report because England is one of the few countries in the European Union where this major cause of preventable death is on the increase.

Between 2000 and 2009, deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the under 65s increased by around 20 per cent while they fell by the same amount in most EU countries. And all three major causes of liver disease – obesity, undiagnosed infection, and, increasingly, harmful drinking – are preventable.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

“I have done a comprehensive analysis of the state of the country’s health, and found some areas where we are doing really well and others where there is still a lot of improvement needed.

“I was struck by the data on liver disease particularly. This is the only major cause of preventable death that is on the increase in England that is generally falling in other comparable European nations. We must act to change this.”

A full copy of the report can be found here.