York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has gained national recognition for its liver service.
The Trust has been awarded the Improving Quality in Liver Services (IQILS) Level 2 accreditation by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

Based at York Hospital, the Trust’s liver service is one of just a small number to have been accredited in England, Wales and Northern Ireland after the scheme was launched in July 2017 by the RCP to improve quality in liver services.

The team originally achieved Level 1 accreditation in 2022 and has since been working hard to achieve the next prestigious level, which demands sustained high quality services, patient involvement and achievable long-term strategic aims.

Dr Charlie Millson, liver service lead and Consultant Hepatologist, who retires later this month after being with the Trust for 12 years, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve established a growing and improving service over many years, to provide high quality care for patients with liver disease in York and the surrounding areas.  It’s a big team effort which has taken hard work from lots of people - without whom none of this would have been possible.”

The clinical team consists of three liver consultants, a specialist registrar, an advanced care practitioner, a specialist clinical pharmacist, a fibroscan nurse, and two advanced nurse specialists, all supported by an admin and management team.

The team investigates and cares for patients across a range of illnesses, from abnormal liver blood tests to liver failure.  Liver disease is often symptomless until at an advanced stage, when symptoms can include jaundice, fluid on the abdomen, and bleeding from the oesophagus and stomach.

Causes of liver disease are varied - many people are aware of the impact of excessive alcohol intake however other causes that may not be so well known include non-alcohol related fatty liver disease, viruses including Hepatitis B/C, and genetic and autoimmune factors.

The Level 2 assessment involved a site visit by a team comprising a doctor and a nurse who work in a liver unit, and a lay assessor representing the patients' perspective.

The assessment report highlights that the service has strong leadership and vision, and that the team are proactive and patient centred in their vision.

Patients also volunteered positive comments on the quality of care they received and said they felt involved with decision making.  Initiatives such as a weekly multidisciplinary team meeting and hot line facility demonstrate the service is patient centred and responsive to their requests.

Overall, the assessment team was impressed with the standard of service delivered by the team.

Dr Karen Stone, Medical Director, York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “This accreditation means that patients can have increased confidence in the service and be assured of receiving high quality, consistent care.  Only those services that meet IQILS standards are entitled to display the accreditation mark, which we are delighted and proud to do.”