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Gathering momentum for the way ahead: fifth report of the Lancet Standing Commission on Liver Disease in the UK

Williams, Roger; Alexander, Graeme; Aspinall, Richard; Batterham, Rachel; Bhala, Neeraj; Bosanquet, Nick; Brown, Katherine; Burton, Anya; Burton, Robyn; Cramp, Matthew E; Day, Natalie; Dhawan, Anil; Dillon, John; Drummond, Colin; Dyson, Jessica; Ferguson, James; Foster, Graham; Gilmore, Ian; Greenberg, Jonny; Henn, Clive; Hudson, Mark; Jarvis, Helen; Kelly, Deirdre; McDougall, Neil; McGilchrist, Alastair; McKee, Martin; Moriarty, Kieran; Morling, Joanne; Newsome, Philip; O�Grady, John; Rolfe, Liz; Rice, Peter; Rutter, Harry; Sheron, Nick; Thorburn, Douglas; Verne, Julia; Vohra, Jyotsna; Wass, John; Yeoman, Andrew


Roger Williams

Graeme Alexander

Richard Aspinall

Rachel Batterham

Neeraj Bhala

Nick Bosanquet

Katherine Brown

Anya Burton

Robyn Burton

Matthew E Cramp

Natalie Day

Anil Dhawan

John Dillon

Colin Drummond

Jessica Dyson

James Ferguson

Graham Foster

Ian Gilmore

Jonny Greenberg

Clive Henn

Mark Hudson

Helen Jarvis

Deirdre Kelly

Neil McDougall

Alastair McGilchrist

Martin McKee

Kieran Moriarty

Clinical Associate Professor

Philip Newsome

John O�Grady

Liz Rolfe

Peter Rice

Harry Rutter

Nick Sheron

Douglas Thorburn

Julia Verne

Jyotsna Vohra

John Wass

Andrew Yeoman


This report presents further evidence on the escalating alcohol consumption in the UK and the burden of liver disease associated with this major risk factor, as well as the effects on hospital and primary care. We reiterate the need for fiscal regulation by the UK Government if overall alcohol consumption is to be reduced sufficiently to improve health outcomes. We also draw attention to the effects of drastic cuts in public services for alcohol treatment, the repeated failures of voluntary agreements with the drinks industry, and the influence of the industry through its lobbying activities. We continue to press for reintroduction of the alcohol duty escalator, which was highly effective during the 5 years it was in place, and the introduction of minimum unit pricing in England, targeted at the heaviest drinkers. Results from the introduction of minimum unit pricing in Scotland, with results from Wales to follow, are likely to seriously expose the weakness of England’s position. The increasing prevalence of obesity-related liver disease, the rising number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and its complications, and increasing number of cases of end-stage liver disease and primary liver cancers from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease make apparent the need for an obesity strategy for adults. We also discuss the important effects of obesity and alcohol on disease progression, and the increased risk of the ten most common cancers (including breast and colon cancers). A new in-depth analysis of the UK National Health Service (NHS) and total societal costs shows the extraordinarily large expenditures that could be saved or redeployed elsewhere in the NHS. Excellent results have been reported for new antiviral drugs for hepatitis C virus infection, making elimination of chronic infection a real possibility ahead of the WHO 2030 target. However, the extent of unidentified cases remains a problem, and will also apply when new curative drugs for hepatitis B virus become available. We also describe efforts to improve standards of hospital care for liver disease with better understanding of current service deficiencies and a new accreditation process for hospitals providing liver services. New commissioning arrangements for primary and community care represent progress, in terms of effective screening of high-risk subjects and the early detection of liver disease.


Williams, R., Alexander, G., Aspinall, R., Batterham, R., Bhala, N., Bosanquet, N., …Yeoman, A. (2018). Gathering momentum for the way ahead: fifth report of the Lancet Standing Commission on Liver Disease in the UK. Lancet, 392(10162), 2398-2412.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 25, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 22, 2018
Publication Date 2018-12
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 23, 2019
Journal The Lancet
Print ISSN 0140-6736
Electronic ISSN 1474-547X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 392
Issue 10162
Pages 2398-2412
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Gathering momentum for the way ahead: fifth report of the Lancet Standing Commission on Liver Disease in the UK; Journal Title: The Lancet; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; CrossRef DOI link to the associated document:; Content Type: simple-article; Copyright: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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