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liver diseaseJune 8 2016

The Royal College of General Practitioners has announced that liver disease will be its latest Clinical Priority. It will be working with the British Liver Trust over the next three years to support GPs and other primary care health professionals in delivering care to patients with liver disease.

Liver disease is the third most common cause of premature death in the UK, which has some of the highest rates in Western Europe, and has seen mortality rates increase by 400% since 1970. “It is also a disease that affects the poorest and most vulnerable in society most, making it a major issue in efforts to tackle health inequalities,” said the RCGP.

“The overall aims of this priority are to improve the numbers of patients detected with liver disease at the early stages, and raise awareness of the key risk factors for the disease to position it as a preventable and lifestyle-related.”

This will be achieved through:

• working with key partners/stakeholders
• developing educational resources
• designing e-learning modules
• curriculum review, networks and events
• developing materials for GPs, practice staff, patients and commissioners.

Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Communications and Policy at the British Liver Trust, said: “We know that approximately three quarters of people with cirrhosis of the liver are not detected until they present to hospital with end-stage liver disease. By this time morbidity and mortality are high and the scope for intervention is substantially reduced.

“The British Liver Trust is delighted that liver disease has been chosen as a clinical priority and we look forward to working in partnership with the College. This is an exciting opportunity for us to improve awareness and knowledge of liver disease and the imperative role that primary care has to play in the early detection and ongoing management of liver disease.”

Dr Jez Thomson has been appointed as the RCGP’s Clinical Champion for Liver Disease. He has a long-standing interest in the clinical area, with a focus on improving best practice for chronic viral hepatitis diagnosis and treatment.
“Raising primary care awareness of liver disease as a major though often preventable cause of morbidity and mortality, working towards improving early diagnosis of liver disease, and supporting the development of effective clinical responses to the modifiable risk factors and causes of progressive liver damage will be among the important goals of the role,” he said.

Current RCGP Clinical Priorities are:

• until March 2017 - autistic spectrum disorder, cancer, and perinatal mental health.
• until March 2018 - end of life care
• until March 2019 - mental health, physical activity and lifestyle, and liver disease.

Links:

RCGP announcement

RCGP Clinical Priorities

British Liver Trust

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