UK Government

Department of Health: Department of Health appoints new National Clinical Director for Liver Disease

Press Release   •   Jan 15, 2010 11:07 GMT

Dr Martin Lombard has been appointed the first National Clinical Director for Liver Disease the Department of Health announced today.

Dr Lombard, a Consultant Hepatologist at Royal Liverpool University Hospital NHS Trust will take up this new role on 18 January 2010, leading the development of a National Liver Strategy for England. The strategy will bring together NHS services and builds on the Department’s commitment to tackle the growing levels of Liver disease.

Liver disease is now one of the most common causes of death in England and if action is not taken to combat the disease, it could overtake stroke and coronary heart disease as a cause of death within the next 10-20 years.  The growth in liver disease is largely fuelled by lifestyle factors such as excessive drinking, risk taking behaviour leading to transmission of Hepatitis C, and obesity and could easily be prevented.

Health Minister Ann Keen said:

“Liver disease is the only one of the top causes of death in this country which is affecting more people every year at an increasingly young age.  We know that by identifying people earlier, encouraging them to change their behaviour and making sure the right services are in place, we can improve the quality of care and prevent the rise in this disease.

“Dr Lombard is a highly-respected clinical expert in this field and I am pleased to welcome him to the Department to lead our National Liver Strategy.

“I am confident that Dr Lombard will build on the work already underway to make a real difference for patients and for the healthcare staff working in this area.”

Dr Lombard said:

“I’m delighted to be able to take up this very important role. Liver disease is a growing problem for society and for the NHS, with viral hepatitis and obesity starting to catch up with alcohol as root causes of the disease.

“I’m looking forward to leading the Department of Health’s work with staff across the NHS, patients and patient groups to develop a National Liver Strategy and provide real advances in the quality of care across this important area of medicine.”

Dr Lombard will remain active in clinical medicine and will continue to work part-time at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital NHS Trust.

The Department of Health recognises the importance of managing lifestyle factors in preventing a number of diseases.  That is why we have already launched two major campaigns, Know Your Limits and Change4Life, investing £372m to address obesity and to prevent people becoming obese in the first place.

Notes to editors

1.      For further information please contact the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5221

2.      For further information on Liver Disease please visit:

3.      National Clinical Director position was filled following an open competition.

4.      Dr Martin Lombard is a Consultant Physician & Hepatologist at Royal Liverpool University Hospital NHS Trust, and the Clinical Director for Gastroenterology Services at Royal Liverpool University Hospital NHS Trust, as well as Hon. Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool. Dr Lombard qualified in Dublin in 1980 and trained in Dublin (Mater & Meath Hospitals) and London (Liver Unit, Kings College Hospital). Dr Lombard  is active in regional and national bodies concerned with Cancer and Training and an active collaborator in research.

5.      Liver disease facts:

  • The average age of death from liver disease is 59, compared to 82 for heart disease and 84 for stroke
  • Liver disease is largely preventable and can be treated if diagnosed sufficiently early
  • Obesity is a rising cause of liver disease, with Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) a growing concern amongst liver specialists
  • While lifestyle factors such as drinking and obesity are the biggest causes, liver disease can also be caused by viral hepatitis, excessive iron and rare disorders
  • Liver disease currently costs the NHS £460m a year


NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department