The rise in liver disease is attributable to trends in alcohol consumption, which alongside obesity are key lifestyle factors determining risk. A Daily Mail story reports that last year 105 people a day were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease. The Department of Health will will recruit a National Clinical Director to develop and implement the national liver strategy.
The Minister for Health Ann Keen said:
''Liver disease is the only one of the top five causes of death which is continuing to affect more people every year at an increasingly young age. We know that by identifying people earlier, encouraging people to change their behaviour and making sure the right services are in the right place, we can improve the quality of care and stop the rise in this disease.
The British Liver Trust welcomed the news, stating 'front-line clinicians and the NHS as a whole need support to tackle the complex causes of liver disease.' The British Liver Trust are currently promoting alcohol awareness week with the message that adults should give themselves 'at least 2 alcohol-free days a week' to promote liver health and reduce the risk of harm from alcohol.
Last year health think-tank the King's Fund produced a report calling on the NHS to adopt a longer term approach to tackling unhealthy lifestyles. They called for priority actions to address smoking, alcohol misuse, poor diet and lack of exercise as key determinants of the health burden of disease.