Introduction:

The British Liver Nurses' Association (BLNA) is an affiliated group of the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL). The BLNA was formed following a merger of the BASL Nurse Forum and the British Liver Nurse Forum and was established in September 2017.

BLNA Aims:

BLNA is a professional nursing organisation aiming to develop knowledge and understanding of liver disease, in order to improve the quality of person centred care, through:

  • The advancement of good clinical practice in the care of individuals with, or at risk of liver disease, across all stages of their health journey;
  • The promotion and dissemination of person-focussed research;
  • The provision of educational support and educational opportunities in the field of liver nursing, incorporating the professional standards for liver nursing;
  • The promotion of a collaborative and inter-professional approach to caring for people with liver disease;
  • The advancement of clinical service development through a platform to highlight best practice and innovation; 
  • To encourage the liver nurse community to cultivate sustainable practice.

BLNA aims to offer support for all nurses who support people with or at risk of developing liver disease. Nurse members of BASL currently include nurses working within liver and gastroenterology units, the community, research, paediatrics and transplant, but with one common goal - to improve care for those with liver disease.

Liver Nurse Networks List 2024

The BLNA Committee have drawn up a list of the Liver Nurse Networks that we are aware of and have included the contacts and email addresses for your reference. If your network has not been included or if you are aware of a network that has not been included, please let us know by contacting admin@basl.org.uk.

Liver Network Name Contacts Email
West of England Hepatology Liver Nurse Network  Laura Kent laura.kent5@nhs.net
South West Hepatology Nurse Group  Katie Ramos k.ramos@nhs.net
Southcoast Hepatology Nurse Forum  Kirsty Fancey  k.fancey@nhs.net
Thames Valley Network  Bryony Butler bryony.butler@ouh.nhs.uk
South East Liver Nurses Lisa Gower lisa.gower@nhs.net
Autoimmune Nurses in North East and North Cumbria Kathryn Houghton kathryn.houghton1@nhs.net
North East & Yorkshire Network Dianne Backhouse dianne.backhouse@nhs.net
Greater Manchester & East Lancashire Liver Nurse Network Hannah Skipper hannah.skipper1@nhs.net
Welsh Hepatology Nurse Forum (All Wales) Vikki Jones victoria.e.jones@wales.nhs.uk
Midlands Hepatitis Nurse Forum Gemma Botterill gemma.botterill@uhb.nhs.uk
Midlands Liver Nurse Network Isobel Hayes isobel.hayes@uhb.nhs.uk
East of England    add-tr.hepatitis@nhs.net
Scottish Liver Nurses Group Christine McTaggart christine.mctaggart@ggc.scot.nhs.uk
Irish Hepatology Nurses Association (Republic of Ireland) Michele Bourke irishlivernursing@gmail.com
Northern Ireland Leanne McWha leanne.mcwha@setrust.hscni.net

Top Tips for Developing a Nurse Network

  • Establish the purpose of your network
  • Who is it for?
  • What are the aims & objectives?
  • How will it operate?
  • Draw up Terms of Reference listing vital information about the network, such as its purpose, chair and membership, meeting schedule etc.
  • Consider key roles and responsibilities
  • Chair - the chair will guide the network and play a key role in shaping its agenda. You may also want a deputy chair, to support the chair’s role and deputise in their absence
  • Secretariat – minute keeping, organising and co-ordinating meetings with the chair
  • All roll holders should be agreed by the network members, which may include; process for filling roles, tenure, election and voting process (particularly for chairs, succession planning and process
  • Communication is extremely important to raise awareness of you nurse network
  • Communication channels to consider may include; social media platforms – Facebook, X Promote your network widely
  • Ensuring your network is listed on the BLNA website
  • Ask existing members to find/invite new members
  • Work with other nurse networks to help cross-promote your network
  • It’s a good idea for meetings to follow a clear agenda – as agreed by network members – to help keep everyone focused
  • Frequency of meetings should be determined by the member’s availability and agreed preferences
  • Opting for digital communication methods, such as email or video conferencing, instead of in-person meetings or events will improve the sustainability of the network
  • Choosing venues that are energy-efficient and reducing waste by using reusable or biodegradable materials should also be considered
  • Networking can also be used as an opportunity to promote sustainability. This can be done by sharing information about green practices and technologies, or by organising meetings and discussions focused on sustainability and its importance in healthcare
  • Have a code of conduct for network meetings, which includes courtesy, compassion and respect
  • Ensure a confidentiality agreement is in place ensuring that nothing is disclosed outside the meeting without consent.

Reference
https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/developing-your-nhs-staff-network/ 

News, Resources & Webinars

BLNA Liver Nurse Networks Webinar 4th December 2023 - the recording from the recent webinar is available to members by logging into the members area of the website > here . (Please remember to update your member profile whilst you are logged in - thank you.) 

The subject of regional liver nurse networks was discussed at the recent BLNA annual meeting and it was evident at the meeting that there is much enthusiasm and interest around networking. In response the BLNA committee ran a webinar continuing on the discussions around networking, offering further support in the development and sustainability of regional nurse liver networks.

If you want to provide any feedback on the webinar, want to be part of or are interested in leading a network please contact admin@basl.org.uk .  


British Liver Nurses' Association - Abstract Surgery Webinar 8 April 2022 - Recording Available

If you have a good idea for an abstract but don’t know where to start then the BLNA Abstract Surgery webinar will guide you through everything you need to know about preparing and submitting an abstract to a conference to showcase your work.

The webinar will give you the knowledge and understanding of:
• Why it is important to submit an abstract
• How to convert an idea into an abstract
• What the process involves
• What happens next…

View the agenda here >  Download BLNA Abstract Webinar Agenda 8 Apr 22.pdf

The webinar is available to view through the members area of the website > Here

Not a BASL member then sign up > Here . The membership fee for a Nurse or Affiliate member is £20 per annum. 

If you have a good idea for an abstract then please do get in touch at admin@basl.org.uk .


Liver disease is now the fifth most common cause of death in the UK and nurses are integral to making an impact on liver disease. This updated framework describes the professional standards expected of practitioners when caring for people with liver disease including liver transplantation. It is designed to support practitioners in a clear, consistent and evidence-based format to reflect their specialist knowledge and skills. This edition includes competencies for liver transplantation.

Download a copy of the RCN Caring for People with Liver Disease including Liver Transplantation; a Competence Framework for Nursing below:

Download RCN Competence Framework for Nursing.pdf


Download the recent publication of the national guidance for 'Liver transplantation for alcohol-related liver disease in the UK: revised UK Liver Advisory Group recommendations for referral'

Download LAG Alcohol Guidelines 2021.pdf

Research Project - Exploring scenarios of use and integration pipeline of Elecsys® GAAD, a clinical algorithm for the early detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) in routine practice - input from specialist nurses

The researchers are looking for some input from specialist nurses. It would involve some semi-structured interviews which are likely to be around 30 to 45 minutes.

Introduction: We would like to invite you to participate in a project that is being run by NIHR London In-vitro Diagnostics Cooperative based at Imperial College London. Before you decide whether to take part, it is important that you understand why the project is being done and what it will involve.

Download the information sheet below - please take time to read it carefully and discuss it with others if you wish:
Download Participant-Information-Sheet.pdf

If there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information please feel free to contact the following researchers: Dr Massimo Micocci, NIHR London IVD, m.micocci@imperial.ac.uk .

IQILS Accreditation Programme – nurse assessors needed

The IQILS accreditation programme is seeking nurse assessors to conduct accreditation assessments for the programme.

The IQILS programme was launched in 2017 and is designed to support liver services in the UK. Accreditation is a supportive process of evaluating the quality of clinical services against the programme’s established standards.

Successful applicants will undergo a detailed training programme that equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge required to undertake the role. You will be invited to remote training sessions, as well as observe an assessment and receive support from the office team. If you are interested in becoming an assessor, please contact the IQILS team at askiqils@rcp.ac.uk to express an interest.

Visit the IQILS website > Here 

Global Nurse Association Links

BLNA Committee:

 

BLNA Chair Michelle Clayton - University of Leeds and St James's University Hospital Leeds
Committee Member Laura Kent - Great Western, Swindon
Committee Member Dianne Backhouse - Hull University Teaching Hospitals
Committee Member Gemma Botterill - Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham 
Committee Member Katrina Snowden - Airedale NHSFT
Committee Member Sandra Walsh - Wrexham Maelor Hospital
Committee Member Sue Eldred - Wye Valley NHS Trust
Committee Member Katharine Caddick - North Bristol Trust
Committee Member Rebecca McCabe - Wythenshawe Hospital
Taster Membership Teesha Joshy - The Princess Alexander Hospital, Harlow

Michelle Clayton RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc, PGC Clinical Education
Michelle is a part time Lecturer in Liver Care at the University of Leeds and a part time Liver Nurse Educator at St. James’s University Hospital, Leeds. Michelle has over 25 years of experience in the field of hepatology and liver transplantation.

Michelle is passionate about championing quality care for people with liver disease. She has been integral in launching the British Liver Nurses’ Association (BLNA); she also holds a steering committee position on the RCN’s Gastrointestinal Forum. Michelle has a large portfolio of publications and speaks both nationally and internationally on care considerations for people with liver disease and liver transplantation. Michelle led and successfully launched the “Caring for People with Liver Disease: A Competence Framework for Nursing” in February 2013 and collaborated with Lynda Greenslade to update the framework in September 2015. She has recently been asked to join the EASL concerted action group for nurses to raise the profile of liver nursing across Europe.

In 2012, Michelle won Gastrointestinal Nursing’s “Educationist of the Year” award for her work in advancing liver nurse education and care. She is on the editorial board of Gastrointestinal Nursing and was integral in developing the journal’s Liver Nursing Supplement.
m.clayton@leeds.ac.uk 


Laura Kent, Great Western, Swindon
Laura graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2007 with a BSc (Hons) in Adult Nursing, before going onto to an MSc pathway in advanced practice. Her career has always been based in Swindon and Wiltshire, with various roles such as community nursing and specialist palliative care, including lead nurse for inpatient services at a local hospice and ten years as an acute hospital based specialist palliative care CNS.

In  early 2019 Laura became the first hepatology CNS at the Great Western Hospital, autonomously building a specialist liver nursing service. It was palliative care that led Laura into a career within hepatology, due to a keen interest to address inequalities in specialist palliative care provision for patients with end stage liver disease.

 A career highlight to date is a quality improvement initiative utilising long term abdominal drains for the care of patients with diuretic refractory ascites nearing the end of their life. This project saw Laura receive the Dr Falk and GUTS UK  Nurse Recognition prize in 2021.

Laura is a keen champion on the development and progression of liver service design pathways and clinical frameworks to enable parity and rapid access for some of the most complex and intricate groups of liver patients.

Clinically Laura’s interests include the management of the decompensated patient and their transition from hospital to home, patient education to enhance quality of life and nurse education to drive up the standards of care for liver patients.


Dianne Backhouse - Hepatology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Hull University Teaching Hospitals

Diane's nursing career commenced in 1990 at the Hull District School of Nursing. She has enjoyed being part of the trusts Gastroenterology team since 1994 working in roles from junior staff nurse to matron, with 16 years as the senior sister on the gastro ward.  She has always had an interest in liver nursing and has regularly attended the BLNA since 2000.

In April 2018 Dianne commenced as CNS Hepatology leading the new liver nurse service at Hull University Teaching Hospitals Trust.  This role consists of daily nurse led in reach to the acute medical unit, ED & non specialist wards for patients with decompensated cirrhosis, clinics for cirrhosis surveillance & liver ward discharges, and the day case paracentesis service.  The new liver nurse service has resulted in excellent patient outcomes including a reduction in length of stay for patients requiring paracentesis, ensuring cirrhosis surveillance clinics occur at the correct timeframes by decreasing waiting list times, implementation of the cirrhosis care bundle, as well as excellent patient feedback.

Education is an essential part of this role therefore she is involved in training programmes for students, nurses, ACP’s, junior doctors as well as for teams outside of the trust such as alcohol liaison & local GP’s.  In 2019 Dianne had the pleasure of presenting the impact of their new liver nurse service to wider teams at EASL & the BLNA.
dianne.backhouse@nhs.net  



Gemma Botterill, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham

Gemma trained at Birmingham City University graduating in 2009 with a BSc (Hons) Nursing and in 2014 with a Graduate Certificate (Hepatology). She returned to study in 2017 to complete her Health Assessment and Independent Non-Medical Prescribing. She joined the Liver medical team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in 2009, moving with them into the new QEHB in 2010 working on Ward 726 - a Liver medical & surgical unit. Here Gemma looked after complex patients including post-transplant, end stage liver disease and those with cancer, becoming Sister in 2012. From 2015 Gemma also worked as a Viral Hepatitis CNS. As of August 2017 she has become a full time CNS.

A previous member of ITNS Gemma is now a member of the BLNA and the Midland Hepatitis Nurse Forum (MHNF) which saw her become Co-Chair in 2019. She has written for publication for the Nursing Times.
gemma.botterill@uhb.nhs.uk  



Katrina Snowden, Airedale NHSFT
Katrina has been a registered nurse since 2000 training in Bradford.  Her professional career has seen her practicing both within the NHS and the private sector.  Katrina's background initially was the operating theatre department where she also trained as an operating department practitioner at Huddersfield university.  She has extensive experience in ICU and coronary care from a background of ICU/HDU/CCU at Airedale NHSFT. 

Katrina started her career in Liver approximately 7 years ago as a part time Hepatitis C CNS running alongside her career in ICU and as a clinical nurse assessor.  The role progressed to a full-time post in 2020 where her role now covers the management of stable liver cirrhosis and viral hepatitis B and C with some outreach clinics in the community with the aim to address the inequalities in health care by taking the clinic to the patient.

The Liver nurse CNS role has been a new role to the trust an autonomous role.  A role that she has had a key part in developing along with the guidance and input of her gastroenterology consultants and the wider field of her colleagues at LTHT and Hull.  The role is continuing to develop and evolve with the possibility of adding further liver disease specialities, PBC to her remit.

Education is a key part of her role, and she is currently the chairman of the North East and Yorkshire Liver Nurse Network.  A group of like-minded nurses with a role in liver services, looking to develop the role of the liver nurse through education and dissemination of good practice and supporting each other particularly the lone worker in their practice.  Katrina is also responsible for teaching the junior Drs at her trust about the Decompensating liver bundle which covers the first 24 hours of admission.

Katrina has a keen interest in end-of-life care and decision making around end-of-life issues with our end stage liver disease patients.

Sandra Walsh, Wrexham Maelor Hospital

Sandra started her nurse training in 1990 in Chester and from there she qualified and worked her way through the ranks to eventually become a Ward Manager of a Gastroenterology Ward. Sandra loved the acute side of nursing and was particularly drawn to Hepatology. 

After waiting several years for a Hepatology Specialist Nurse role to be developed she moved across the border to North Wales as a Hepatology CNS in 2004. She completed her Hepatology and Transplant Courses at Birmingham University and spent time there working with the team at various intervals. She has also completed her MSc in Advanced Practice.

Sandra has worked as a Hepatology CNS for almost 20 years in North Wales and has developed a liver service from nothing. Her Trust covers 2 sites in the East of North Wales and clinics are nurse-led only.  She loves her role and the clinics cover all aspects of Hepatology including viral hepatitis, autoimmune diseases, haemochromatosis, liver cancer and transplant care. She is keen to ensure patient care is excellent and knows clear and honest communication is vital for this.

Sandra is an IQILS Nurse Assessor which is a role she enjoys very much and it is great to meet so many people doing great things despite the constraints faced.  Sandra has previously served on the WAGE committee (Welsh Association of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy) and chaired the Welsh Hepatology Nurse Forum and is also keen to ensure there is easily accessible, relevant education for nurses in the field that provide some standardisation for Hepatology nurses, especially those who are single handed and in smaller DGH’s.  Her particular interests are HCC and transplantation.

Sue Eldred - Wye Valley NHS Trust
Sue has been nursing for over 30 years, with a background in advanced practice and critical care gained working all over the UK. Sue eventually settled in Herefordshire finally finding Hepatology.  After a spell in nurse management as Lead Nurse in Gastroenterology which she held addition to her Hepatology Clinical Nurse Specialist role, she has now chosen to return to full time clinical role, being recently appointed a Nurse Consultant in Hepatology at Wye Valley NHS in Hereford.

Sue is very proactive in service development and improvement creating patient nurse led pathways and strategies for the improvement of patient care. Sue’s focus over the last few years has been on developing aspects of the nurse led Hepatology service, overseeing the development from an initial nurse led hepatitis C treatment shared cared model to include now all aspects of liver nursing and care for patients with chronic liver disease. She has developed nurse led services in paracentesis, abnormal LFT clinic, Fibroscan, haemochromatosis and a viral hepatitis outreach service and had a significant role in developing the newly formed alcohol liaison service.

Sue is passionate about liver nursing and has held a number of committee positions including a period as Chair of the West Midlands Hepatitis Nurse Forum, member of the British Viral Hepatitis Group, and BASL Haemochromatosis special interest group, with regular attendance at both regional and national meetings and conferences.  



Katharine Caddick - North Bristol Trust
Katharine lives in Bristol and obtained her BSC Nursing , MSc (Advanced Practice ) and NMP prescribing in the University of the West of England.  Currently, she is based in North Bristol NHS Trust. Katharine has worked as a Hepatology CNS in Bristol for over 15 years, and within liver disease for over 20 years. She has a specific interest in Hepatocellular Carcinoma and end of life care and is directly involved in setting up patient care. She is keen to further develop the hepatology nurse community, share skills and provide support and education.

Katharine has established a nurse-led paracentesis service services in North Bristol NHS Trust – and previously in University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust. She has recently set up a joint hepatology and palliative care MDT, and run a patient focus group and am Macmillan adopted. Katharine is a part of the working group that helped North Bristol NHS Trust become one of the first hospitals to be IQUILS 2 accredited.  

She is currently working with NICE as an advisor regarding non-malignant ascites, and National Health England to help develop HCC surveillance pathways. She teaches paracentesis to junior doctors in the Severn Deanery and regularly teaches other specialities within the hospital and community. Katharine aims to build links and meaningful pathways for patients.

Katharine is passionate about enhancing care for patients who are often marginalised by their disease, and act as an advocate to mediate optimum care and aim to ensure that both the needs of people with, or at risk of liver disease and liver nurses are represented. She is focused on improving the patient experience and health outcomes and compassionate, driven and enthusiastic and aims to engage with colleagues in meaningful collaboration. 

katharine.caddick@nbt.nhs.uk 

Rebecca McCabe - Wythenshawe Hospital

Rebecca lives in Manchester and started her hepatology career as a medical secretary.  She quickly realised she wanted to help patients with more than appointments and qualified as a nurse in 2011.  After two years on the gastroenterology ward and a stint in Australia, she finally got her dream job as a Hepatology CNS at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

After two years working in viral hepatology, Rebecca moved to Wythenshawe Hospital to set up the hepatology nursing service.  This included an elective paracentesis service, HCC surveillance programme and stable cirrhosis clinic.  She has an interest in all areas of hepatology but particularly decompensated cirrhosis and PBC and is keen to learn more about transplant.  She qualified as an ACP in August 2022.

Rebecca is passionate about improving care for patients with liver disease and has recently trained as an IQILS nurse assessor.  This has given her the opportunity to see some fantastic liver services across the country and she really feels proud to be part of the liver community.  Rebecca is currently working on implementing the BASL decompensated cirrhosis bundle, teaching paracentesis and setting up patient focus groups.  She is keen to improve education, both to patients and to staff caring for patients with liver disease to ensure our patients receive the exceptional care that they deserve.

Rebecca.mccabe@mft.nhs.uk

 Teesha Joshy - The Princess Alexander Hospital, Harlow

Teesha works in Harlow (Essex), Princess Alexandra hospital as a Liver Clinical Nurse Specialist. She is an internationally recruited nurse from India who started her carrier as a nurse on the medical ward and then worked as a Nurse Specialist for Infection Prevention & Control  after pursuing a master’s degree (MSc) in Infection Prevention & Control from Essex University.

Teesha always had a specific interest in liver patients that led her to set up the new hepatology nursing service at Princes Alexandra Hospital in 2020. Following this she obtained the NMP prescribing qualification from Essex University.

Teesha is currently managing five clinics a week which includes cirrhosis clinic, Hepatitis B clinic, Medication review clinic for Tenofovir and  Entecavir, Liver cancer surveillance clinic  and she also sees new referrals from GP and in -patient referrals. This include deranged LFTs, PBC, Haemochromatosis, Hep B, Hep C.  Teesha also supports day case paracentesis clinic which is undertaken by the gastro registrar. Mainly liaise with patients and co-ordinate the procedure in a timely manner to avoid inpatient admissions. Teesha also oversees and manages fibroscan clinic.

Teesha is very proactive in developing nurse-led pathways and SOPs for service improvement and patient care. These are uploaded on to Trust Intranet and maintains this page for easy access to all. Teesha  maintain a liver database to establish and run the new service for all liver patients. This also helps with audits and service improvement projects for our patients.

Teesha is also an active participant of special interest groups which includes NAFLD, PBC, Haemochromatosis , Wilson disease SIG  and SLIDE meetings as well as regional and national meetings.

Teesha is keen to develop a better end of life care support for liver patients who require long term drain and support in the community. She is focused on patient experience and service improvement and works hard to provide support and education in the Trust’s weekly Gut Club teaching for junior doctors , nurses, and other Multi-disciplinary Teams.

t.joshy@nhs.net