Hartlepool MP Mike Hill is backing medical chiefs’ calls to step up the battle against liver disease that is costing the town millions of pounds a year.
Mr Hill met with Professor Roger Williams who is the chair of the Lancet Commission on Liver Disease.
The Commission is calling on the local and central government to implement a number of recommendations to address the main causes of liver disease and their associated costs.
It says rising alcohol misuse, obesity and viral hepatitis has created a ‘grave public health crisis’.
Alcohol-related hospital admissions for Hartlepool cost £6million in 2015/16 and almost three quarters of people (73 per cent) are classed as overweight.
Mr Hill said: “The information provided by Professor Williams and his team shows that there is a real need to tackle the increasing health issues and cost relating to liver disease.
“The Commission has made a number of important recommendations for local authorities to consider in the fight to tackle the causes of Liver disease and target ‘at risk’ communities and I would urge Hartlepool council to look to consider the report’s findings and take appropriate action.”
Mr Hill added it was worrying that the North East has a higher than average rate of alcohol consumption with 26 per cent of people drinking over 14 units a week.
But he said it is reassuring that other trends in Hartlepool are lower than the national average including liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus.
Alcohol-related road casualties cost £68million in Cleveland in 2015.
Liver disease is the third most common cause of early death in the UK.
The commission’s recommendations to councils include ensuring Health and Wellbeing Boards scrutinise efforts to tackle the main causes of liver disease and develop new and build upon existing partnerships with clinicians, commissioners and health services providers.
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Hartlepool’s director of public health, said: “The council is continuing to work extremely hard with partner organisations to address and tackle the main causes of liver disease.
“While we acknowledge that more work is yet to be done, however, it is reassuring to see that trends such as alcohol-related in-patient hospital admissions and the prevalence of Hepatitis C virus in Hartlepool are lower than the national average.”