The Liverpool Centre for Alcohol Research has now been officially launched, with speakers ranging from a TV presenter and MPs to prominent clinicians and academics, taking to the stage at St George’s Hall to celebrate the significant impact the centre will have on Liverpool City Region and beyond.
Liverpool Health Partners, together with the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Clinical Research Network North West Coast, have been working together tocreate the centre…
The event began with introductions from Professor Louise Kenny (Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Liverpool), Professor Robin Leatherbarrow (Pro Vice Chancellor, Liverpool JohnMoores University), Dr Neil Goodwin CBE (Chair, Liverpool Health Partners) and Professor Martin Lombard (Clinical Director, CRN North West Coast). The introductions captured the excitement for the launch of the LCAR, grown from identified need for further collaborative research in this area.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore (Director, Liverpool Centre for Alcohol Research) followed the introductions describing the real impact the centre will have locally, saying that there is ‘barely a family in the area not affected by alcohol’. The discussion continued with the positive vision for the future of the centre, focusing around the multi-layered approach that will be taken to research, driving forward innovation, treatment and preventative strategies.
“We believe we can make a difference through imagination and innovation, immediatelyand long term through clinical trials.”
Professor Roger Williams CBE (Director of the Institute for Hepatology – Foundation forLiver Research) reflected on national trends and the correlation between alcohol prices decreasing at the same time as cases of alcohol-related issues increasing, the enormous lobbying power of the drinks (and food) industry, and excessive alcohol and obesity being truly synergistic.
With a solid groundwork of research and trials already in place, insights gained so far allow the centre to build on knowledge and prompt research in key areas.
MP Luciana Berger talked about the cost of alcohol misuse, going beyond the economic cost of £750m per year and looking at the significant human cost, highlighting figures such as the 400% increase in LCR since 1990 in deaths from alcohol-related issues. Fellow MP LouiseEllman cited the importance of the LCAR in improving the health of the people of Liverpool and also in growing the city as a centre of excellence and expertise, playing a vital role in Liverpool’s standing and regeneration. The significance of the collaborative nature of the centre was emphasised by Nigel Lanceley (Chairman, North West Cancer Research).
To complete an afternoon full of insights, thought-provoking facts and realities, Adrian Chiles took to the stage to reflect on his experiences and the discoveries he has made during his personal journey and recent work. The reflections were honest and offered realistic messages that could be communicated in future, to the wide audience that faces many of the issues encountered through alcohol misuse.
Luke Delahunty (Director, SQW) discussed the economic impacts, noting the staggering statistic that ‘research conducted with NW employees found that alcohol costs the LCReconomy £660m per year’.
A positive for the future, he said, lies in the potential of the LCAR to play an important role in continuing to develop health and life sciences in the region, driving increased levels of innovation and achieving a significant potential ‘prize’, even in economic terms alone.
The economic impact is not the only positive which will be delivered through the work ofthe LCAR, and Dr Laura Goodwin shared insights on the impact on mental health through alcohol abuse and the importance of talking about what an alcohol problem is, looking more closely at alcohol problems (rather than alcoholics).
Dr Zara Quigg (Reader, Institute for Health Research, Liverpool John Moores University) opened her presentation with the haunting fact that, from the start of her presentation tothe end, sixty people will die from alcohol-related issues. With this in mind, Dr Quigg discussed the global health problem of excessive alcohol consumption and the factors which tempt people into alcohol-related harm. Insights from Dr Lynn Owens (Nurse Consultant, Alcohol Services, Royal Liverpool Hospital) further established the need for greater understanding - in particular, through spending time with patients to better understand risks. From their time with patients so far, 92% have been willing to take part in research and this high percentage is due to nurturing relationships and building trust.
Dr Joseph Delaney (Consultant Principal Lecturer in Integrative Medicine, WirralMetropolitan College) shared his personal experience and introduced a new word. The new word, he finds, is key in really understanding what the patient is trying to express and work in this area is crucial in making a difference nationally. The new word was ‘quantilative’ which merges subjective, objective and mixed methodology, and from his professional and personal experiences, is the way to truly build the understanding needed to make a real, positive impact.