New plan to reduce deaths from liver disease in Wales unveiled
A consultation on a new plan to reduce the number of people who die each year from liver disease in Wales has been launched by Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething.
Deaths in Wales from chronic liver disease have more than doubled in the last 20 years. Obesity, alcohol misuse and blood borne viral hepatitis are contributing to the development of liver disease in Wales. But cases of liver disease as a result of these three causes are almost entirely preventable.
The draft 'Together For Health – Liver Disease Delivery Plan', one of the set of national service delivery plans, is about how the Welsh Government and NHS Wales will develop and improve services for people with liver disease in Wales.
The draft plan sets out the Welsh Government’s expectations for NHS Wales and its partners in delivering high-quality care, ensuring patients have the right care at the right time, delivering efficiency and effectiveness, tackling variation in access and reducing inequalities.
It provides the guidance and standards NHS Wales will need to follow to ensure patients receive excellent care, whether through prevention, timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment or continuing support.
This draft delivery plan outlines a vision where:
- The rise in liver mortality and potential years of life lost due to liver disease is halted;
- National policy and strategy makes healthy choices easy, particularly for those at greatest risk of developing liver disease, from childhood to adult life;
- People are aware of the risk factors which contribute towards liver disease and take appropriate action to minimise their risk;
- Early detection leads to early treatment and improvement of outcomes for patients with liver disease in Wales;
- There are effective care pathways for patients with liver disease with multi-disciplinary input, including primary, secondary and community services at each stage where appropriate;
- Patients have a voice in determining the shape of services for people with liver disease;
- The NHS in Wales actively collaborates and engages in research related to liver disease;
- Clinical leadership and engagement helps drive down the number of people developing liver disease and the number dying from it.
Mr Gething said:
“As with a number of other health conditions, the way we lead our lives has an impact on whether we will develop liver disease. Excessive alcohol consumption continues to be the biggest cause of liver disease in Wales.
“The Welsh Government will continue to take action to help positively influence people’s lifestyles. As outlined in the recent Public Health White Paper, we are exploring legislating to curb excessive alcohol consumption by introducing a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol.
“At the same time we want to help people be aware of these risks in their own lives and encourage people to take responsibility for their actions and shaping their own health.
“The prudent healthcare approach means that we all have to be jointly involved in minimising avoidable harm. By paying better and more careful attention to our own health, we can often avoid causing damage.
“This consultation is an opportunity for everyone affected to express their views. Informed by this, the final plan will be published in April 2015.
"I look forward to seeing the improvements this plan will help us realise over time.”
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