Health Committee - The Government's Alcohol StrategyWritten evidence from the British Liver Trust (GAS 19)

1. The British Liver Trust is the only liver related charity for adults in the UK—it offers information and support for the millions who are at risk of liver disease, including the ever increasing numbers of people with, and affected by alcohol related liver disease.1 (www.britishlivertrust.org.uk)

1.1 Along with the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) the British Liver Trust welcomes The Government’s Alcohol Strategy (2012) and its acknowledgement of the harms associated with current levels of alcohol consumption in England.

1.2 The British Liver Trust is an executive member of the AHA; we have contributed to the AHA’s comprehensive response to this consultation and fully support all of the comments made. In addition to the AHA’s response the British Liver Trust would also like to add.

2. As quoted within the strategy “In the UK, there has been a 25% increase in liver disease between 2001 and 2009” and that alcohol is the major contributor—to address this as effectively as possible the British Liver Trust wants the Government to commit to:

improved awareness and prevention campaigns;

improved screening;

early intervention;

continuing care and support;

equitable access to the most appropriate treatments; and

effective palliative and supportive care when needed.

2.1 It is unfortunate that despite this strategy reporting that a liver disease strategy has recently been published this is not the case and it would undoubtedly be useful to have one as soon as possible.

3. With particular reference to greater investment in effective interventions the British Liver Trust would like the government to commit to improving access to and provision of a dedicated alcohol services with full liver health screening and appropriate care, treatment and support where needed for those with, and affected by, alcohol related liver disease.

3.1 The British Liver Trust is very concerned by the lack of actions and investment to address the significant proportion of the population who regularly drink at or above published guidelines over a long period of time, which can lead to chronic liver disease conditions.

4. Re: Early diagnosis and treatment of alcohol use disorders.

4.1 To complement a Quality and Outcomes Framework for GPs to record the alcohol intake of their patients and to give brief advice where indicated the British Liver Trust would recommend that the full extent of any potential health harm is assessed including full liver health screening and a stepped programme of further intervention implemented when needed.

5. RE: Secondary care services.

5.1 As well as the recommended 7 day Alcohol Specialist Nurse Service and Assertive Outreach Alcohol Service the British liver trust would like the strategy to commit to developing fully holistic care teams for people from early diagnosis to effective palliative and supportive care so the full extent of their holistic needs are met.

May 2012

1 http://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk

Prepared 21st July 2012