Patients access liver tests at Bulwell health centre during Alcohol Awareness Week
Published: 13 November 2019 | Categories: NHS
People concerned about the health effects of alcohol received free liver tests at an event in Bulwell today.
As part of alcohol awareness week, the Bulwell Riverside joint service centre offered visitors a free ‘fibroscan’ test. The painless scan is a type of ultrasound that can measure inflammation in the liver, a key marker of liver disease caused by excessive alcohol use.
Visitors were tested in a private room at Bulwell Riverside without an appointment, to find out what they can do to keep their liver healthy.
Local health and care organisations are working together as part of the NHS Long Term Plan to raise awareness of the risks of alcohol abuse and help people moderate their drinking habits.
Dr Stephen Ryder, Consultant Hepatologist of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “One of the key aims of alcohol awareness week is to reach the one in five people in the UK who may have the early stages of liver disease, but are unaware of it.
“It’s a silent killer and people don’t often realise they have a problem until it’s too late. But the good news is that when liver disease is caught early, it can be treated, halted, or even reversed by making simple lifestyle changes.
“Drinking within recommended limits and taking three consecutive days off alcohol a week can drastically reduce the risks of liver disease. Our aim is to have an honest, non-judgemental conversation about alcohol intake, and encourage people to get support when they need it.”
Alcohol related hospital admissions
The harmful effects of drinking alcohol can be measured using alcohol-related hospital admissions, which are statistically significantly higher in Nottingham compared to England. The rate (per 100,000 population) of admission for alcohol related conditions was 881 in Nottingham compared with 632 in England (2017/18).
It’s estimated that more than one in five adults in the city drink at levels that pose a risk to their health and around 10,500 people are dependent on alcohol.
Nottingham residents can also access the test via their GP. The city is one of a few areas of England, where GPs can directly refer patients for the test if they are concerned about a patient’s drinking habits.
The National Institute For Health And Care Excellence advises GPs to send people for scans for cirrhosis if men are drinking more than 50 units per week or 22 pints and women are drinking more than 35 units per week or 3 ½ bottles of wine.