Responding to consultations on behalf of those with liver conditions is a key part of the British Liver Trust's work. Responses to recent key consultations are listed below:
March 2016: NHS England (Proposed revisions to Clinical Reference Groups)
The British Liver Trust has representation on the Hepatobiliary Pancreatic CRG. This CRG covers specialised hepatobiliary and pancreas services (HBP). HPB services treat patients who have disorders of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas. A large volume of HPB services are delivered in local hospitals but, because of the complexity and high cost of care, delivery in conjunction with or at specialist tertiary centres may be necessary. Such conditions include hepatitis C (about 2,000 cases each year), serious complications of cirrhosis (about 3,000 cases each year) and complex liver, biliary and pancreatic surgery (about 5,000 cases each year).
Our main recommendation was to ensure that the CRG had significant patient representation, reflecting both the many conditions covered by the CRG and NHS England’s intention to engage and involve more patients.
January 2016: Specialised Services Commission
In January 2016 the Specialised Services Commission (SSC) asked for views on the future direction of travel of specialised services. The SSC is an expert working group convened by former Health Minister Lord Warner to examine the current challenges and opportunities facing NHS specialised care. These specialised services include liver transplantation, cirrhosis, viral infection and cancer.
The Trust made a written submission. The key points included the fact that liver disease is still on the increase, recognised the economic realities that the NHS and social care face; the fragmentation of pathways across public health, primary care and specialised care and the advent of new interventions and therapies for liver disease and the ability for the system to both afford these and provide existing ones.
The main recommendations in the light of these points we made were:
- The need to develop Liver Health Networks across England that co-ordinate and commission all liver related services. This builds on the Hepatitis C Operational Delivery Networks being created at the moment.
- Reform the NHS payment systems to reflect longer periods of care e.g. 3 years
- Ensure the devolution of health budget from NHS to local authorities retains NHS assurances around quality, standards and equity.