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Charity calls for liver disease screening as deaths rise

The rise in deaths from liver disease could be linked to an increase in alcohol consumption. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/PA

The number of people dying from liver disease in the UK has risen by 400% over the last 40 years according to the British Liver Trust.

The charity is calling for the Government to introduce early liver disease screening along with a specific national liver health prevention campaign which it said could save £600m and thousands of lives.

Chief Executive of the Trust, Andrew Langford, said: “If we do nothing, we will continue to see ever increasing rates of liver damage and early death.

"The average age of death from liver disease is 57, that’s over 20 years lower than deaths from cancer, stroke and heart disease – liver disease is now the third most common cause of premature death."

The organisation has launched its fourth annual 'Love Your Liver' campaign along with an online screening tool which is designed to help the public assess their risk of liver disease.

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Partner 'just wants answers' about liver patient's death

Maria Davies' partner Martyn Rogers was one of eight patients whose deaths were 'avoidable' at Cardiff hospital. She has told ITV News about the loss on what would have been his birthday.

Maria said she blames Professor David Berry for Martyn's death: "He didn't just take Martyn's life, he took mine as well. I'm nothing without him now. I just want the answers, I just want to know why they took him."

Leicester patient helpline launched

A helpline for concerned patients has been launched. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA

Dr Kevin Harris, Medical Director at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said:

“There are no concerns about the current mortality rates in liver resection procedures carried out at the University Hospitals of Leicester.

" However, if as a result of the coverage from Wales any patients or relatives would like to talk to us they should call (free phone) 0808 178 8337."

Trust commissions independent review into surgeon

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has commissioned an independent review into work of a suspended liver surgeon in Wales who previous worked at its hospitals.

In a statement, it said some of Professor David Berry's results were "lower than expected."

This is specialist surgery and there are a number of reasons why this might be the case, so rather than speculate we have asked the Royal College of Surgeons to carry out an independent, impartial review of Professor Berry’s cases and once that review is complete we will report back

– Dr Kevin Harris, Medical Director at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Cardiff liver surgeon case referred to police

This matter has been referred to us by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Following a report from the Royal College of Surgeons into the specifics of this case we have liaised with the Coroner and are now in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service to examine the facts.

– South Wales Police Detective Supt Paul Hurley

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  1. Wales

Health board urged to make internal liver inquiry public

Lawyers representing the family of a man whose ‘avoidable’ death was linked to suspended liver surgeon David Paul Berry have called for Cardiff & the Vale University Health Board to make the findings of its internal inquiry public.

We are shocked and deeply concerned to learn of the scale of the number of avoidable deaths linked to Mr Berry’s surgery during his short time at University Hospital Wales.

Eight avoidable deaths within just 18 months is very concerning and the health board must provide urgent answers to all those affected about how this could have happened.

Martyn Rogers who died of blood poisoning and acute liver failure on 25 July last year, a week after undergoing surgery by Mr Berry to remove tumours from his liver.

His partner Maria Davies says she is "shocked to the core" after learning the deaths of other patients may have been preventable.

Our client Maria, and no doubt the other families who have lost loved ones, now deserve quick and transparent information from the Board about exactly what has gone wrong, how it could go wrong and what action is being taken to protect patient safety and prevent any further avoidable deaths.

– Emma Rush, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

Helpline launched for concerned liver surgery patients

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has set up a helpline for anyone who is concerned about the surgical care they received in relation to liver surgery between February 2011 and October 2012.

The helpline number is: 0800 952 0244.

It will be open from noon to 8pm from tomorrow until Friday.

Surgeon 'was suspended in January after concerns'

A spokesman for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) has said it can:

Confirm that a specialist liver surgeon working at the University Hospital of Wales was fully suspended from duty in January 2013 following concerns about the outcomes of some liver patients whilst in his care.

The experienced surgeon was employed by the UHB in February 2011.

The UHB identified concerns about the care and treatment of a number his patients who had undergone liver surgery through its normal monitoring procedures in October 2012.

The surgeon was immediately placed on a period of restricted practice pending the outcome of an internal investigation, which confirmed the UHB's initial concerns and resulted in the surgeon being fully suspended from all duties in January 2013.

He was also referred to the General Medical Council.

The surgeon concerned remains fully suspended.

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