More than 2,000 free liver health checks completed since April this year by the Collaborative and partners across Cheshire and Merseyside

This year, the Champs Public Health Collaborative partnered with the Hepatitis Operational Delivery Network and the Cancer Alliance to offer free liver health checks across a wide range of settings in Cheshire and Merseyside.

This work is vitally important as liver disease is one of the five largest causes of premature death in the UK and the only major cause of death still on the rise.

In addition, across Cheshire and Merseyside we have some of the highest rates of liver disease in England (two to three times higher than the national average). However, there is a lot we can do to reverse this trend as nine in 10 cases of liver disease are preventable with the main causes being alcohol, obesity, and viral hepatitis.

The health checks include a quick and non-invasive ultrasound scan (Fibroscan), and a finger prick blood test for those that may be at higher risk for contracting viral hepatitis.

Since April this year over 2,000 scans have been completed, which is an amazing achievement as the overall target for 23-24 is 3,000 scans. These have been delivered across a very wide range of settings such as drug and alcohol services, hostels, community services, blue light services, staff events and housing associations. The mobile facility also delivered the health checks at the NHS North-West Directors of Finance conference.

Crucial to any such initiative is the pathway to deal with results that may indicate disease. In that regard any positive results are transferred to a dedicated virtual hepatology clinic for further review, with rapid onward referrals and intervention as required. From April to June for example approximately 80% were negative, with the remaining scans being dealt with by the clinic.

Margaret Jones, Director of Public Health for Sefton Council and co-lead for the Cheshire and Merseyside Reduction of Harm from Alcohol Programme said:

“This is a vital project to improve the health of people in our communities, especially where we see the highest inequalities. Liver disease is a silent killer and one in five adults in our area could be walking around with liver disease and be completely unaware because there are usually no symptoms in the early stages.

“Tragically, three quarters of people with liver disease are currently diagnosed at a late stage when it may be too late for treatment.

“However, if liver disease is identified early, with timely intervention the damage can be reversed, and often just changes to lifestyle can make a big difference.”

For more information about the Collaborative’s Reduction of Harm from Alcohol Programme, visit