Liver disease figures reveals postcode lottery

Public Health England has published a liver atlas, showing the rate of people dying from liver disease, which in most cases is preventable, per 100,000.

Alcohol, obesity and hepatitis B and C – which are linked to drug use and unprotected sex in some cases – account for up to 90 per cent of cases.

In Wolverhampton, 22 people out of 100,000 die before the age of 75 according to the figures.

This compares to just eight in Stafford.

In Sandwell, 20 out of 100,000 died from the disease before 75, 15 in Dudley, 13 in Walsall, eight in Cannock.

Nationally, Blackpool has the highest rate with 30, while South Norfolk has the smallest, four.

Liver disease is the fourth most common cause of years of life lost in people aged under 75.

A spokesman for City of Wolverhampton Council’s Public Health team, said there had also been an increase in hospital admissions due to liver disease.

He said: “The rate of hospital admissions for liver disease in Wolverhampton was similar to the England average in 2012/13, but has increased year on year, with the latest rate of 191.2 per 100,000 being significantly higher, statistically, than the West Midlands and England average.

“There has been a regional and national increase in the rate hospital admissions for liver disease since 2012/13.

“However, the increased rate of admissions in Wolverhampton over this period was 54 per cent compared to a 15 per cent regional and 6 per cent national increase.”

He added: “Public health currently commission services to support recovery from the misuse of drugs and alcohol.

“There needs to be a concerted focus on prevention and the localisation of the national One You, health and wellbeing campaign provides accessible information and advice for Wolverhampton residents.”

Vanessa Hebditch, director of communications and policy at the British Liver Trust, said: “Across the UK we are facing a liver disease crisis.

“People are dying of liver damage younger and younger, with the average age of death now being mid-50s.

“It is also becoming more and more common for liver units to have much younger individuals waiting for a liver transplant or dying on the wards.

“This data shows that not only do we need to ensure that there are excellent and consistent liver services across the country but that need to be diagnosed much earlier to obtain effective care, treatment and support as soon as possible.

“This means that primary care needs to have a much greater emphasis on liver disease.”

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