The British Liver Trust has been funded until December 2019 to raise awareness and improve liver health in Wales. This is part of the Welsh Government’s ‘Together for Health: Liver Disease Delivery plan 2015 – 2020’, which aims to improve activity and health outcomes across six key areas:
- Preventing liver disease and promoting liver health
- Timely detection of liver disease
- Fast and effective care for those diagnosed with liver disease
- Living with liver disease
- Improving information on all liver conditions
- Research into liver disease.
In Wales we will support this by promoting liver health and highlighting the risk factors most often associated with liver disease to primary healthcare professionals and amongst the general public.
Premature deaths in Wales from chronic liver disease have more than doubled in the last 20 years. While there have been improvements in mortality from most other chronic disorders, such as stroke, heart disease, and many cancers, the number of deaths from liver disease has increased by more than 400% in people aged under 65.
Key activities we are undertaking include:
Setting up support groups – find a support group in your area.
Working with healthcare professionals in Wales, we aim to set up support groups across Wales. Many people in Wales can feel isolated when they are diagnosed, support groups enable people to meet others who understand how it feels to be affected by a liver condition and receive information and advice form experts who attend the group meetings.
The team in Wales is raising awareness across the region by holding patient and healthcare events, and distributing British Liver Trust materials. We are also running Love Your Liver events to raise awareness of the risk factors and improve early diagnosis amongs the general public – find out more about out Love Your Liver events in Wales.
Providing more support for healthcare professionals
By building links with healthcare professionals across Wales we are able to create two-way communication to improve standards of care. . By sharing information we can hear more about the concerns of healthcare professionals and their patients and use this to influence policy. We can also provide healthcare professionals across Wales with our award winning patient leaflets and materials and share examples of best practice.
General Practitioners across Wales can also access our new toolkit for general practitioners.
We have also run a free educational event for GPs in Cardiff.
Free bilingual Love Your Liver materials are available, to find out more email email@example.com
The team in Wales is also influencing policy makers and parliamentarians including holding events at the Senedd (National Assembly for Wales) and working with Public Health Wales. The team has effectively campaigned on Minimum Unit Pricing, providing the Welsh Government with robust evidence of the benefits of MUP and the clear and direct link between levels of excessive drinking and the availability of cheap alcohol.
Minimum Unit Pricing
The Welsh Government’s report published in May 2018 can be found here.
After successful campaigning by the Trust, the Bill for Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of Alcohol in Wales has been given Royal Assent and the new law will allow Welsh Ministers to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol supplied in Wales. The legislation will target and aim to reduce the amount of alcohol being consumed by hazardous and harmful drinkers, whilst minimising impacts on moderate drinkers.
The new minimum pricing regime is currently expected to come into force during the summer of 2019.
Liver Disease Implementation Group
We are an active part of the Liver Disease Implementation group working towards improving liver health services in Wales. Plans are currently being developed for an all Wales liver function test pathway, which will direct patients to FibroScan services within a community hospital or participating practice as part of a GP cluster.
The aim is to detect liver deterioration much earlier, prevent liver disease worsening and give patients the best possible care and support’
In November 2018 we held an event in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay to launch the new liver health project in Wales. Our event was sponsored by the Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, Dai Lloyd AM, who also opened the event. We also had guest speakers who gave their experience of liver disease, including having a liver transplant.
The Clinical Lead for the Liver Plan, Andrew Yeoman, spoke about the work being done through Public Health on the Liver Plan and the Health Minister, Vaughan Gething AM, spoke about the work being done in Wales on a political level around Minimum Unit Pricing.
Wales 2018 Roadshow
Following the launch in the Senedd we took the British Liver Trust’s mobile scanning and screening unit to 5 different locations across North and South Wales. Members of the public came to speak with staff about our work and learn about our key liver health messages. We scanned and screened over 400 people and were supported by the National Exercise Referral Scheme and Barod, who were on hand to give advice on diet and lifestyle.
We received excellent feedback from the public and political representatives who came to visit us on the unit and supported via awareness raising thorough social media.
ITV Wales also covered the 5 day roadshow and Love Your Liver in Wales.
We have now been awarded funding for a 6 day roadshow in 2019, which will cover North, Mid, West and South Wales and are also busy planning further community awareness raising events to support these.