May 2020 APPG on Liver Health update
Alcohol Change UK released findings of research into changes in drinking habits during lockdown. The research found a mixed picture, with around a third of respondents having stopped or reduced their drinking, but around a fifth (21%) saying they are drinking more frequently since the lockdown was implemented. While almost half of drinkers said they are drinking about the same amount on a typical drinking day, 15% said they have been drinking more per session since lockdown. The full report from Alcohol Change UK can be found here.
New research, reported in The Guardian and elsewhere, has found that almost 18,000 more people could die from cancer over the next year in England due to the impact of COVID-19. Pamala Healy, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust, called the findings “highly concerning” and noted that “liver cancer is one of the least survivable cancers in the UK and even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of patients were being diagnosed far too late to receive effective treatment”.
The COVID-Hep Registry has been established to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on patients with liver disease, with data submitted so far showing “ongoing high rates of mortality in patients with cirrhosis and COVID-19”. Read the latest update here.
HCV Action has published an overview of how hepatitis C services are operating across the UK in light of changes to the health service in response to COVID-19. The overview can be read in full here.
The Hepatitis C Trust has produced a resource on harm reduction advice for people who use drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be accessed here.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released guidance for the management of gastrointestinal and liver conditions treated with drugs affecting the immune response during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines provide clinicians with advice on how to adjust care to reduce patients’ exposure to COVID-19 and how to balance the risks and benefits of taking drugs that affect the immune response during the pandemic. The full guidelines can be found here and a press release summarising the guidelines here.
The British Liver Trust has published patient and carer-focused guidance on COVID-19 for people with liver disease and liver transplant patients, which can be accessed here.
Relevant parliamentary activity
Layla Moran MP asked what assessment the Home Office has made of the effectiveness of the minimum unit pricing on alcohol policy in Scotland and Wales; and what plans there are to introduce MUP in England.
Fiona Bruce MP asked when the planned roundtable between the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and the alcohol industry on low and no alcohol products will take place, and who else will be invited.
Mary Glindon MP asked what steps the Department of Health and Social Care is taking to reduce alcohol-related cancer diagnoses and deaths.
Gregory Campbell MP asked what preparations the Department of Health and Social Care is taking to tackle the potential increase in domestic alcohol abuse as a result of reduced social interaction during the covid-19 outbreak.