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Liver services failing to keep pace with demand

Provisions at specialist liver units are insufficient to meet current demand and district general hospitals are ill-equipped to deal with the increasing burden of liver disease, top doctors have warned.

A study published in the journal Clinical Medicine found that the majority of hospitals are only staffed with half the number of specialist physicians needed to manage the estimated workload of a District General Hospital.

Access to facilities, including laboratory tests and interventional radiology is patchy, and there is wide variation in the management of many liver diseases.

Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians and consultant gastroenterologist at Royal Liverpool University Hospitals said: ‘Many deaths are avoidable with specialist care but our hospitals services have not kept pace with this rising tide of liver disease. We need to urgently implement the national plan to remedy this.'

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