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 to:

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

  • The advancement of good clinical practice in the care of individuals with, or at risk of liver disease;
  • The promotion and dissemination of patient-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 multi-disciplinary approach to caring for people with liver disease.

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

News & Resources

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

IQILS Accreditation Programme – nurse assessors needed

The IQILS accreditation programme is seeking nurse and medical 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 to further discuss the role.

Global Nurse Association Links

BLNA Committee:


BLNA Chair Michelle Clayton, University of Leeds
Committee Member Catherine Wood, University Hospital Sussex (Brighton)
Committee Member Dawn Stevenson, Leeds Teaching Hospital
Committee Member Dianne Backhouse, Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust
Committee Member Gemma Botterill, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham 
Committee Member Liz Farrington, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro
Committee Member Vacancy (will be advertised in 2022)
Committee Member Rebecca West, The British Liver Trust
Committee Member Ricky Gellissen, Imperial College London

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. 

Catherine Wood, University Hospital Sussex (Brighton)
Cathie trained at the Royal Free Hospital London and has worked at UHSussex (Brighton) within Digestive diseases for 19 years. She has a particular interest in viral hepatitis and has spent 6 years working as a Hepatology CNS, developing and working collaboratively to establish accessible viral hepatitis services across East Sussex.

Cathie is passionate about developing services that provide excellent clinical care, which is equitable and meets the needs of patients with liver disease. She is active in sharing evidence based practice and is a member of the South Coast Hepatology Nurses forum, the British Viral Hepatitis Group and the BASL Non- alcoholic fatty liver disease special interest group. She has a BSc in Health Studies and is interested in the wider implications of the determinants of health.

Cathie is keen to develop nurse led NAFLD/NASH multidisciplinary services and to work in partnership with primary care in promoting preventable liver disease. She has an interest in leadership, service improvement, change management and facilitating learning and education. She is soon to take up post as a Virtual Hepatology CNS at the Royal Cornwall hospital and is looking forward to sharing her experiences of this innovative role. 

Dianne Backhouse - Hepatology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust

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.  

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.  

Liz Farrington, Consultant Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro
Liz has worked for Hepatology services at the Royal Cornwall Hospital since 2003, having a well-established role as Consultant Nurse, with an extensive portfolio across education, research, leadership, consultancy, and clinical expertise. Prior to moving to Cornwall she held a variety of nursing positions around the UK, but specifically developed an interest in Hepatology whilst working in New Zealand.

Liz has been involved with a number of national strategic projects, working with the Department of Health, Public Health England, NHS England, Health Education England and the Lancet. She is passionately committed to the patient journey, with a keen interest in service development, stakeholder involvement and partnership working across primary and secondary care services. She has recently been successful in gaining a post as Clinical Director and is looking forward to new challenges ahead. 



Rebecca West, The British Liver Trust
Rebecca has been a qualified nurse for twenty years. She started her first liver and gastroenterology job at Hull Royal and then went on to nurse at Swindon and Poole as a senior nurse. She has also been a practice educator and research nurse leading clinical trials.

In 2016 she began a new role at The British Liver Trust where she evolved, what was a patient information service, to now the UK’s only nurse-led helpline service. She manages a team of specialist nurses who answer complex medical enquiries UK wide. The team also respond to patients, families and healthcare professionals via a nurse email service. In addition, the team manages an online community forum of liver patients that has grown from 4,000 in 2016 to 26,000 members.

Rebecca is passionate about patient focussed research and improving care. She sits on the BASL Special Interest group for end of life care and works closely with The British Liver Trust clinical advisory group of hepatologists and nurses to deliver accessible and engaging advice to everybody with liver disease and liver cancer.

She has recently contributed to the National Liver Biopsy guidelines and is currently The British Liver Trust representative reviewing the BSG guidelines for the outpatient management of cirrhosis.  She is extremely proud to be a nurse and herself and her team still maintain their links with clinical practice. As part of her role on the BLNA committee she will work hard to promote the nursing profession and support all liver and gastro nurses. 

Ricky Gellissen - RGN, LLM, Independent Non-Medical Prescriber, Hepatology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Imperial College London
Ricky had a long background in palliative and acute HIV care before he transitioned from an HIV Clinical Nurse Specialist to the first dedicated HIV and Hepatitis Co-infection Clinical Nurse Specialist role in England. He developed that role supported by Hepatology, working as the principle nursing liaison between the HIV and Hepatology departments which led to an expanded interest in Hepatology, and to transferring to a Hepatology Clinical Nurse Specialist post.

As the only independent non-medical prescriber on the Liver Unit at the time he was ideally positioned to develop the Nurse Led Hepatitis B clinic. Under consultant guidance he expanded his prescribing practice beyond viral hepatitis and jointly managed patients with Wilson’s disease.
He has been involved for the past decade in the development of the FibroScan Service within Hepatology, adapting the service to provide short interventional therapy Real Time FibroScan for the NASH and NAFLD clinic, and an innovative bespoke service for the Wharfside HIV clinic with Real Time FibroScan to assist in monitoring HIV and liver related conditions.

He is currently working with for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICNHT) lead clinicians in Endocrinology and Hepatology on developing the role of specialist nursing services within NASH /NAFLD.

He holds a Master of Laws in Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights. Prior to his Masters he had been active locally within the Royal College of Nursing both as an RCN Representative and in local branch posts as Public Relations Officer and Branch Secretary. He ceased his RCN activity whilst studying for his Masters, and after his Masters he has subsequently held a 2 year stint as Co-Chair for ICHNT Clinical Nurse Specialist Forum and more recently served 5 years on the National HIV Nurses Association Executive Committee, including chairing the NHIVNA Blood Borne Virus Working Group, a collaborative group between NHIVNA and the British Association for the Study of the Liver Nursing Forum.