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Nurses want better guidance on preventing liver disease

Practice nurses felt they had insufficient guidance in clinics on liver damage

Practice nurses felt they had insufficient guidance in clinics to help patients make changes needed to prevent liver damage

Conceptual illustration showing destruction of liver tissue as a result of liver disease.
Picture: Science Photo Library

General practice nurses would value better guidance on behavioural changes needed to prevent a major liver event, the LOCATE (local care and treatment of liver disease trial) suggests.

Liver disease is the fifth most common cause of death in the UK, most frequently caused by alcohol and obesity. This progressive disease is difficult to detect until the liver failure stage is reached.

LOCATE tested whether specialist liver nurse clinics in general practices enabled earlier intervention. In the nurse-led clinics, people identified as being at risk were screened, and then recalled for detailed investigations and a suggested management plan.

Early signs

This paper reports on 29 qualitative interviews of practice staff – GPs, practice nurses and administrative staff. They found the intervention updated them on liver disease, particularly early signs.

However, the GPs and nurses said it did not provide sufficient guidance for them to help patients make the behavioural changes needed. The next stage of the study is to develop more feasible guidance on changes needed to prevent a major liver event.


Reinson T, Bradbury K, Moore M et al (2019) Healthcare practitioners' experiences of an intervention to detect and treat patients with liver disease (the LOCATE intervention): a qualitative process evaluation. BMJ Open. 9,5. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028591

Vari Drennan is professor of healthcare and policy research at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London

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