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A new report from the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, commissioned by the Institute of Alcohol Studies, finds that almost 2,000 people in England, and 250 in Scotland, have died as a result of recent government cuts to alcohol duty.
Tax on alcohol has been reduced in real-terms in five of the last six Budgets, and, as a consequence, there are estimated to have been:
- over 100,000 additional crimes,
- 500,000 additional days of work lost, and
- over 61,000 additional hospital admissions.
This comes at a cost to the NHS of £341 million. The report also finds that reintroducing the duty escalator, which ensured that tax rates rose by 2% above inflation each year, could reverse these trends. A duty escalator in place until 2032 is estimated to save over 4,700 lives. The Independent has the story.
These findings come at a crucial time for the AHA duty campaign and to support the AHA campaign. BASL has sent a letter to the Chancellor, see below, highlighting the need to increase alcohol duty by 2% in the upcoming Budget.
Officials at the Treasury have told the AHA that they noticed the increase in letters asking for alcohol tax increases, both from organisations and MPs, so the campaign is having a real impact.
‘Another string of evidence supports the effectiveness of introducing minimum price based on the strength of alcoholic drinks’.
The introduction of minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland appears to have cut drinking, a study suggests.
View the article on the BBC News website here > https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49831575 .
Press Release - British Liver Trust
More than a quarter of people who die from liver disease in hospital have no previous admission in the year before their death
New data released today at the largest conference for liver clinicians reveals that around 5,200 people die from liver disease in hospital in England each year. Of these, 30% of those have not had an admission in the year before death. On admission to hospital time is of the essence in saving these seriously ill patients. 1 in 4 of those who die do not survive more than 3 days and 43% do not survive a week.
These are people with advanced liver disease and many of their lives could have been saved if they had been diagnosed earlier in primary or secondary care and had been given advice on risk factors like alcohol and management of their liver disease.
The analysis is being presented at the British Association for the Study of the Liver conference in Glasgow. The data also reveals that these deaths occur in relatively young people. 60% of these patients are under 64 years of age and that one in five are under the age of 50.
Liver disease has increased by 400% since 1970 and it’s the biggest cause of death in those aged between 35-49 years old in the UK (https://britishlivertrust.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/statistics/ ).
This new data highlights the urgent need for improvements in early detection of the disease as most patients are being diagnosed too late in an emergency setting.
Professor Matthew Cramp, president at BASL, says: “Many people with liver disease are unaware that they have it because there are usually have no symptoms in the early stages. Too often the first a patient knows about their liver disease is when they are admitted as an emergency to hospital with life threatening complications. Even with the doctors’ best efforts some patients are so ill that their life cannot be saved.”
“It’s vital that GPs and other healthcare professionals identify those at risk so that more patients are diagnosed at an early stage.”
The research used Office for National Statistics mortality data and Hospital Episode Statistics data supplied by NHS Digital. Other alarming facts highlighted by the research:
• 29.1% of the patients who died in hospital had no previous admission in the year
• 20.8% had only one previous admission in the year before they died
• 25.3% of those who die do not survive more than 3 days in hospital
• 43% of those who die do not survive more than a week in hospital.
• 2,230 liver patients die each year in hospital in a week or less from admission, that is 43 patients per week or 6 patients every day.
• The majority (60%) of those dying from liver disease in hospital are under the age of 64 and 20% are under the age of 50.
• At least two-thirds of the patients who died with no previous admission in the year before death died from alcohol related liver disease
• Patients admitted to hospitals with specialist liver services are more likely to be seen by a specialist in liver disease and be admitted to ITU
Professor Matthew Cramp, president at BASL, says: “Despite being young and very sick, many patients die from the disease without ever being seen or cared for by a specialist. Patients with life-threatening liver disease complications need to be recognised quickly when they arrive at hospital and should be seen by a specialist with knowledge of liver disease quickly and treated according to Guidelines.”
This study found that the chance of these patients being seen by a specialist (Gastroenterologist or hepatologist) and being admitted to ITU was higher if they were admitted to a hospital with specialist liver services.
Matthew Cramp adds: “Smaller hospitals should link with specialist hospitals to consult with experts or transfer patients if appropriate.”
Liver problems develop silently with no obvious symptoms in the early stages yet if caught early, the disease can be reversed through lifestyle changes. More than 90% of liver disease is due to three main risk factors: obesity, alcohol and viral hepatitis.
Pamela Healy, Chief Executive, British Liver Trust said, “This research highlights the liver disease epidemic we are facing in the UK. While the data presented is based on England only, this is likely to reflect the situation with liver disease in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
To coincide with the BASL conference, The British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver roadshow is at the University of Strathclyde today offering free liver health screening and scanning.
Pamela continues: “Helping people understand how to reduce their risk of liver damage is vital to address the increase in deaths from liver disease. Although the liver is remarkably resilient, if left too late damage is often irreversible. I would urge everyone who is unable to attend the roadshow to take our online screener on our website to see if they are at risk.”
1. For additional information of please refer to the following:
• The 2nd Atlas of variation in risk factors and healthcare for liver disease in England published by PHE and NHS Rightcare in 2017: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/atlas-of-variation
• There is an interactive version of the Atlas at http://tools.england.nhs.uk/images/LiverAtlas17/atlas.html
2. The Love Your Liver Campaign focuses on three simple steps to Love Your Liver back to health:
i) Drink within recommended limits and have three consecutive days off alcohol every week
ii) Cut down on sugar, carbohydrates and fat, and take more exercise
iii) Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis and get tested or vaccinated if at risk
3. The roadshow comprises a mobile unit where people can take a free online screening test and find out if they are at risk. Free liver health scanning is also offered using a non-invasive device. Expert guidance on how to keep your liver healthy from healthcare profession.
Press Release - British Liver Trust
New study shows alcohol service saves NHS money
New evidence being presented today at the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) conference in Glasgow shows that an innovative new service treating people who are alcohol dependent is having dramatic effects and saving the NHS money.
The liver unit from University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust has developed a new service that has turned traditional ways of treating people with alcohol dependency on its head. They analysed data over the first six months of the pilot service, and found that their new service had saved £78,400 in acute hospital bed days alone, not counting additional savings including ambulance and social services costs.
The Assertive Alcohol Outreach Service (AAOS) in Plymouth identifies frequent users of A&E who are alcohol dependent. They then provide targeted intensive bespoke care that is highly individualised for six months. By visiting their homes, liaising with family members, and other services such as social care, housing, and debt services they are achieving improved health outcomes for the individual patients as well as saving money.
People who frequently attend A&E departments for alcohol-related reasons place a disproportionate burden on hospital bed usage. Although A&E staff are generally sympathetic to the needs of people with complex drinking and related problems, they do not have the resources or training to provide the kind of personalised support that people who frequently attend A&E with alcohol-related problems often need. One in ten people in the hospital system in the UK are alcohol dependent.1
The Plymouth team set out to address these alarming statistics by trying a completely different approach.
Louise Dunn who leads the nurse led service said, “These patients have complex needs and often don’t interact with traditional service models. This service puts the patient at the centre, builds relationships and really considers what is needed for each particular individual.”
Users of the service reported how it had improved their family relationships, quality of life family dynamics, improved health, and enabled them to engage more effectively.
One user commented, “I've never got on with other services as they treat you like they have a recipe book and if you’re not on their ingredients list, they can't help you. But AAOS have thrown away the recipe book, looked at the ingredients, (me) and just cooked with what you've got and that's why I think it's finally worked!"”
Pam Healy, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust said, “The NHS Long Term Plan has recommended hospital-based alcohol care teams as one of the key interventions for preventing illness and reducing health inequalities. This new evidence suggests that this may be an excellent model for how they could deliver their services to ensure that they are integrated and truly meet the needs of patients.”
1. A major review published in July 2019 pulled together the results of 124 previous studies involving 1.6 million hospital inpatients revealed that one in ten people in the hospital system are alcohol dependent. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.14642
Press Release - British Liver Trust
Minimum unit pricing in Scotland has had biggest impact on drinking patterns in Glasgow
Thursday 19th May 2019 - Evidence released today at the UK’s largest conference for liver experts shows that minimum unit pricing, introduced in Scotland in May 2018, may have had a significant impact amongst Scotland’s heaviest drinkers in Glasgow where there has been a reduction in alcohol-related deaths.
The research being presented at the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) conference in Glasgow has important implications for MUP in England and the rest of the UK. The key findings are:
• Glasgow City has seen a 21.5% reduction in alcohol-related deaths from 2017 to 2018: 186 to 146.
• Almost half (44%) of the alcohol-related deaths in 2018 in Glasgow occurred before May 2018 when MUP was introduced.
Speaking at the BASL event, Dr Ewan Forrest, said when presenting the results:
“Glasgow has always had much higher levels of alcohol-related deaths than other parts of Scotland. This latest information suggests that MUP may be reducing alcohol-related harm in those at highest risk. More time is needed to assess the effect on MUP on the rest of Scotland and to get a clearer idea as to how MUP might affect the rest of the UK.”
Professor Matthew Cramp, President of BASL adds: “This early evidence suggests that implementing MUP does exactly what it is supposed to – it is a highly targeted measure that improves the health of the heaviest drinkers and those experiencing the most harm from alcohol whilst those who drink in moderation continue much as before.”
Scotland was the first country in the world to implement a minimum unit price for alcohol, following a ten-year campaign by health bodies including the British Liver Trust.
The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 states that all alcohol sold through licensed premises in Scotland cannot be sold below a set minimum unit price (MUP). The MUP depends on the amount of alcohol contained in the product and is currently set at 50p per unit of alcohol.
Pamela Healy, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust said, “We are facing a liver disease epidemic in the UK and a major reason for this is that as a nation we are drinking too much alcohol.
“There is good evidence that interventions such as minimum unit pricing (MUP), targeted taxes and marketing regulations reduce alcohol harm. Alcohol taxes have been cut repeatedly in real terms. The Government needs to look carefully at the outcomes from Scotland on MUP so that more lives can be saved.
The British Liver Trust is the largest UK charity for all adults with liver disease., which is the third leading cause of premature death. Their Love Your Liver roadshow is in Scotland this week raising awareness of the risk factors of the disease, including alcohol misuse.
The British Liver Trust urges everyone to take their online screening test to find out if they are at risk of liver disease: www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/screener .
The mentoring sessions will be informal and will cover advice on career development. The sessions will be led by Professor Michael Heneghan, Consultant Hepatologist & Professor of Hepatology at the Institute of Liver Studies, King's College Hospital.
When - the morning of Wednesday 18th September 2019
Where – during the BASL / BLTG Annual Meeting at the Technology & Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Criteria – you must be a BASL Medically Qualified in Training Member and be registered for the BASL / BLTG Annual Meeting 2019.
Times - a session can be booked in advance and 30-minute time slots are available between 10:00 – 13:00 and are being offered on a first come first served basis. The final sessions will start at 12:30.
To Book - register for a mentoring session in advance by emailing email@example.com before 2 p.m. on Friday 6th September 2019. Alternatively speak with colleagues on the day at the Registration Desk at BASL2019 to book a session.
We look forward to seeing you in Glasgow.
The NIHR cross programme broad Liver Disease call has been approved – see https://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding/1993-liver-disease/21585 .
The closing date for outline applications is 13:00 hrs Wednesday 27th November 2019.
Clinical Research Fellow (Hepatology)
POST: Hepatology Research Fellow – Research & Innovation
Hours: 40 hours per week (1.0 WTE)
Contract Type: Fixed term contract – 1 year initially
Closing Date for Applications: 28th July 2019
Interview Date: 11th August 2019
Proposed Start Date: to be agreed
The NHS Jobs link is:
Guts UK are pleased to announce the following funding opportunities. Visit the Guts UK website at https://gutscharity.org.uk/research/grants-and-awards/ for more information and to download the application forms and guidance.
The deadline for all awards is 19th August 2019.
Guts UK Development Grants
Five grants of up to £50,000 each are available to research-established clinicians and scientists for translational or proof of concept research in any area of gastroenterology (including pancreatology and hepatology).
Guts UK Nutrition Development Grants
Two grants up to £50,000 each are available to research-established clinicians (including gastroenterology specialist dietitians) and scientists for research on any aspect of nutrition that is related to gastroenterology (including hepatology and pancreatology).
Guts UK/forCrohns Development Grants
Following on from a successful collaboration with forCrohns in 2018 we announce two grants of up to £50,000 each for research-established clinicians and scientists specifically focusing on translational or proof of concept research in Crohn’s Disease.
Guts UK/BSG Trainee Awards (Individual and Networks)
Four grants up to £5,000 each are available to gastroenterology specialty trainees who would like to conduct research or Audit/quality improvement (QI) in any area of gastroenterology (including pancreatology and hepatology) or nutrition. Trainees can apply individually or as networks.
Please direct any queries related to the above grants to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Guts UK/Bowel & Cancer Research - PhD for Research into Diverticular Disease and Diverticulitis
This new research stream follows on from a previous collaboration with Bowel & Cancer Research into Diverticular Disease and recognises the need for funding in this relatively neglected area of research. Proposals of up to £75,000 are sought to support a three year PhD student research project into diverticular disease. Support will be given to: new ideas in diagnostics, therapeutics or devices, experimental medicine and pilot studies; outcomes research. For queries relating to this call contact Deborah Gilbert: email@example.com .
The tenure of the current BASL Trainee Representative will come to an end in March 2020. As such, BASL are now seeking expressions of interest for this position with a view to shadowing the current representative for 6 months.
To apply for the position you must be a BASL Medically Qualified Member in Training and hold a national training number (NTN). The position is open to all trainees who are at least 24 months pre-CCT from September 2019.
The Trainee Representative will serve on the BASL Committee for a maximum of 2 years. They are expected to comment on all issues pertaining to training to ensure that trainee views are heard, to ensure that the annual meeting and schools of Hepatology meet trainees needs and in addition to attend BASL Committee meetings (face to face or teleconference) as well as the Annual Meeting. A working knowledge of Twitter is desirable and a strong link with the BSG trainee representative is helpful.
Please send your expressions of interest to the BASL Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline of 23:59 on Monday 17th June 2019.
Emails should clearly have as the subject: BASL Trainee Representative Post 2019.
Candidates wishing to be considered for the post are required to provide a short personal statement containing no more than approx. 300 words explaining why you want to be the BASL Trainee Representative and what relevant skills or training you have. Your personal statement should accompany your expressions of interest email where possible.
A panel comprising of 3 BASL committee members will review and score the applications to select the successful applicant.
The new Trainee Representative will be announced at the next Business Meeting of the Association during the Annual Meeting in September 2019 and will work with the current trainee representative for 6 months and take up their post in March 2020.
If you require any further information, please contact email@example.com .