People who are concerned about the health effects of alcohol can get a free liver scan at an event in Bulwell on Wednesday (13 November).

As part of Alcohol Awareness Week (11-17 November), the Bulwell Riverside joint service centre will be offering visitors a free ‘fibroscan’ test. The painless scan is a type of ultrasound that can measure inflammation in the liver, a key marker of liver disease caused by excessive alcohol use.

Visitors can get tested in a private room at Bulwell Riverside between 9.30am and 4.30pm without an appointment, and find out what they can do to keep their liver healthy.  The scan takes just 10 minutes.

Nottingham City Council is working with the NHS to raise awareness of the risks of alcohol abuse and help people moderate their drinking habits.

Dr Stephen Ryder, Consultant Hepatologist of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “One of the key aims of Alcohol Awareness Week is to reach the one in five people in the UK who may have the early stages of liver disease, but are unaware of it.

“It’s a silent killer and people don’t often realise they have a problem until it’s too late. But the good news is that when liver disease is caught early, it can be treated, halted, or even reversed by making simple lifestyle changes.

“Drinking within recommended limits and taking three consecutive days off alcohol a week can drastically reduce the risks of liver disease.  Our aim is to have an honest, non-judgemental conversation about alcohol intake, and encourage people to get support when they need it.

“At the Bulwell event we will be giving advice to help people identify the risks of alcohol abuse as well as providing access to a fibroscan in a private room.”

People can also get information, check their units and find out how healthy their drinking is at Recovery Network provides advice, support and treatment for adults misusing drugs and alcohol and CGL provides a confidential drug and alcohol service for young people up to the age of 19, families and carers.

Alcohol related hospital admissions 

The harmful effects of drinking alcohol can be measured using alcohol-related hospital admissions, which are statistically higher in Nottingham compared to England.  The rate (per 100,000 population) of admissions for alcohol related conditions was 881 in Nottingham compared with 632 in England (2017/18). 

It’s estimated that more than one in five adults in the city drink at levels that pose a risk to their health and around 10,500 people are dependent on alcohol. 

Nottingham residents can also access the test via their GP. The city is one of a few areas of England, where GPs can directly refer patients for the test if they are concerned about a patient’s drinking habits.   

The National Institute For Health And Care Excellence advises GPs to send people for scans for cirrhosis if men are drinking more than 50 units per week or 22 pints and women are drinking more than 35 units per week or 3 ½ bottles of wine. 

Liver disease (cirrhosis) is now the third leading cause of premature death in the UK, and the only one of the top five causes that is increasing, rather than decreasing.

What happens during a Fibroscan?

When you arrive you will be asked to lie on the bed with your right arm behind your head. You will uncover the side of your body.

The scanner places a probe on your skin, between two ribs on your right side, and the test will begin.

Anyone who is concerned about addiction can refer themselves or someone else for support to The Alcohol Recovery Network is a publicly funded service which provides a single point of advice, support and treatment for anyone in Nottingham City who wishes to change their relationship with alcohol or drugs.