Network Development Project

In 2011 the WEYHN (as it was then) was approached by the National Liver Strategy team at the Department of Health to see whether the development of the network to include primary care was of interest, which it was. The Department of Health supported this development with a limited grant. This grant enabled us to appoint a development project manager for a year and has contributed to the development of this website.

We are aiming for an integrated hepatology network which leads to effective partnerships between primary and secondary care which will
 
• increase early diagnosis of treatable and preventable liver disease,

• allow the development of local pathways for hepatology services,

• foster good communication between primary and secondary care and

• facilitate patient focussed care for liver disease in primary care.

This Development Project started to take shape in March 2011 and was initiated in Leeds, Bradford and Hull in its first phase but is inclusive of all areas of the network.

General practitioners and other primary care partners have enrolled as general members of the network and we have been delighted to welcome them. In addition we have a growing number of General Practitioners who have been willing to volunteer their services as part of a GP reference group. There is primary care representation in the development steering group. The intention is to roll out the project in phases across the whole region.

In December 2011 the network held its first Symposium on Liver Disease for General Practice as part of this pilot project. This was an educational meeting delivered by specialists and primary care representatives and topics such as abnormal liver function test investigation, fatty liver and brief interventions for alcohol users were covered. Over a hundred delegates attended and the meeting was over-subscribed, giving an indication of an increasing recognition of the challenges liver disease presents in primary care. Feedback from this meeting was very useful and will help guide the content and structure of future events.

The network development continues in other areas also. By the end of 2012 the network will have expanded to include all of South Yorkshire, thus truly representing Yorkshire and the Humber region. We have forged closer links with the regional hepatitis C steering group. This group has provided our commissioners with data on the extent of viral hepatitis in our region and available services, and we are pleased to have them on board.

How to get involved

Enquiries about this pilot project and how to get involved are welcome from any primary care professional interested in liver disease within the YHLN geographical area.

Please e-mail enquiries@yhln.org.uk