The vast majority of deaths caused by liver disease could be prevented, according to the outcomes of an inquiry launched today by the All-Party Parliamentary Hepatology Group (APPHG).
The report – Liver Disease – today’s disaster; tomorrow’s catastrophe – sees both health experts and MPs calling on the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England to urgently address the growing problem of liver disease as a priority area for preventative action.
The APPHG undertook their inquiry following the coalition government’s decision to ditch the planned National Liver Disease Outcomes Strategy at the final drafting stage, despite wide-ranging support across medical professions and political parties.
Oral and written submissions to the group revealed “an overwhelming consensus” across the medical community in favour of extensive and coordinated national action to help prevent the onset of liver disease, and to diagnose and treat those with early signs of the condition.
The inquiry concludes by setting out 20 recommendations that aim to improve outcomes for liver disease sufferers in England, including the implementation of a minimum unit price for alcohol of 50p per unit.
By 2012, the annual number of people dying with an underlying cause of liver disease in England had risen to almost 11,000. Alcohol misuse is a main driver of liver disease; in the last ten years there has been a 117% overall increase in alcohol liver disease hospital admissions in England among the under-30s, rising to 400% in the North East of England.
David Amess MP, Chair, APPHG, said: “The launch of today’s Inquiry Report is a wakeup call for the nation. Liver disease is the only one of the UK’s top five causes of death where death rates continue to rise and there is no national strategy to tackle this. Unless urgent and co-ordinated action is taken now, in less than a generation, liver disease has the potential to be the UK’s biggest killer”.
‘Liver Disease – today’s disaster; tomorrow’s catastrophe’ full inquiry report is available to view here.