This site is intended for health professionals only

Laws to fight liver disease called for by leading doctors


27 November 2014

Share this story:


Patients with liver disease are failed by the “post code lottery” in services and the Government must take action says the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

Speaking in response to The Lancet’s Liver Commission report Professor Jane Dacre, president of the RCP, said: “The report is stark reading for everyone who cares about patients with existing alcohol problems, and the prevention of further damage and death from liver disease caused by alcohol. 

Patients with liver disease are failed by the “post code lottery” in services and the Government must take action says the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

Speaking in response to The Lancet’s Liver Commission report Professor Jane Dacre, president of the RCP, said: “The report is stark reading for everyone who cares about patients with existing alcohol problems, and the prevention of further damage and death from liver disease caused by alcohol. 

“Over the past 20-30 years, we have not been able to turn the tide of harmful drinking in the way we have been able to reduce the amount of smoking in the UK.  At a national level we need the government to introduce national measures such as minimum unit pricing, and reduce the availability of alcohol, and restrict advertising and marketing.”

The commission, calls for radical improvements in the way liver disease is treated and monitored, and shows that early detection of liver disease through primary care services can ensure the condition is treated effectively, but that detection at this stage is ‘virtually non-existent’.

Dacre believes that integration of primary, secondary and community services – as outlined in the RCP’s Future Hospital report – would go some way to addressing the issue as specialist advice could be accessed earlier.

The report also highlights the lesser known issue of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in 70-90% of patients who are obese. 

“This underlines the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and the need for the government to take much stronger action, for example by taxing foods with a high sugar content.

“As a nation, we should stop pretending that voluntary agreements on alcohol and food will improve the situation – they don’t, only legislation will do,” says a RCP spokesman.

A tenth of people in the UK will be directly affected by liver disease, although these figures increase in areas of socio-economic deprivation.

Want news like this straight to your inbox?

Related news

David Olusoga: Racism ‘still disfiguring’ the NHS
Racism and discrimination are ‘still disfiguring’ the NHS and limited opportunities are available to staff...
Sajid Javid NHS
Health secretary Sajid Javid says the current primary care model is ‘not working’
Health secretary Sajid Javid set out a ‘plan for change’ for primary care, as the...