32 Liver Disease Deaths Could Have Been Avoided, Says Report

There’s no denying the effects that alcoholism can have on your mental health, but you also have to watch out for the impact that drinking can have on your physical wellbeing too. Not only can alcohol lead to liver disease, but, if this occurs, you may be at an increased risk of hospitals missing it. This is according to a watchdog who found that hospitals are missing chances to save the lives of patients with alcohol-related liver disease.

The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome Death released a report which says that the NHS is not doing enough to help the patients of alcohol-related liver disease at an early stage. The review of care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland concluded that although most patients who died from the disease visited hospital at least once in the two years prior to their death, many failed to get the help they needed. The finding is based on the National Confidential Enquiry (NCEPOD), which looked at 200 hospitals and more than 300 patients who had died from alcohol-related liver disease.

This is a huge wellness concern, as the warning comes as the number of cases of liver disease is rising. Over the last decade, hospital admissions have increased by 40% – now totalling 200,000 a year. However, according to the study, too few patients had been referred to support services or screened for serious problems such as sepsis, and 32 deaths could have been avoided if such measures were taken. The report noted less than half of patients (47%) were judged to have received good care, only 28% of hospitals had consultant hepatologists (liver experts) present and just 23% had dedicated alcohol-care teams to provide comprehensive support.

According to report co-author Dr Mark Juniper, ‘Many people with alcohol-related liver disease have multiple admissions with this condition. This gives clinicians an ideal opportunity to offer appropriate treatment and advice to patients to help them stop drinking and improve their future health. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening.’ An NHS England spokeswoman responded, ‘We would expect all NHS service providers to use the recommendations as an internal benchmarking process to consider their own deficiencies and began to correct them.’

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