Helpful tips on choosing a liver unit. - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Helpful tips on choosing a liver unit.

Suzie111 profile image

My husband has ALD cirrhosis and is being treated by our local hospital. He has had a GI bleed and has been banded three times in 2 weeks. His care has not been fantastic so he is thinking of asking our GP if he can transfer to a specialist liver unit. Our nearest is the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham but that is 50 miles away. My daughter livers in South London so we could go to Kings Hospital. Does anyone have any experience of these two units?

10 Replies

I have an experience of King's and also heard good opinions of QEH in Birmingham- so both options seem a good choice. King's runs the largest liver transplant programme in Europe and is also well recognised all over the world. They treat patients coming to them throughout all of the UK and also from abroad dealing with the most complicated cases. Liver Intensive Therapy Unit is very well equipped with a specialist team and lovely nurses looking after you.

Hi. I’m under Birmingham having been transferred for further tests earlier this year by my local hospital. I can’t speak highly enough of everybody involved in my treatment and 2 week stay there. From the nurses & doctors to the housekeeping and porters everybody was so friendly and helpful which makes a big difference during a difficult time.

The medical team were reassuring and explained everything clearly. I felt in very safe hands. I’m now returning for regular check-ups every few months.

It’s around 110 miles for me so I know that the distance can be daunting. If you have family in London, that may make the experience much more comfortable.

I had a transplant in Kings last year. The care, pre and post transplant has been fantastic.

Being the largest liver unit in Europe I know they have a vast resource of expertise in liver disease.

Well both are highly recommend.

I am at QE birmingham . Have been since feb last year after asking my dr to refer me.

Can't praise them enough.

So caring, they explain things , they are very thorough and so pleasant.

Have seen 3 consultants so far , had my endoscopy and dexa scan there too.

Facilities are great, I go every 6 months for bloods ultrasound and see the hepatologist. So glad to be under their care .

Hello Daisysue,

I really don't think you should dwell too much on which unit might be better than another.

The special bond that you build up with those who you see at the clinics and on the wards is going to form your opinion of your centre. The relationship you have with your transplant centre is critically important and lifelong.

However, when it comes to comparing liver transplant centres in the UK it is well worth being aware that wherever you are in the UK, the teams all follow the same protocols and guidelines. The specialist surgeons, hepatologists and nurses all work to exactly the same high standards. So, wherever you go, you can be assured of high quality care.

Also, there are national groups formed from clinicians, nurses and patient representatives, from the seven centres that meet regularly and ensure, that by sharing excellence, there is continual improvement in care and outcomes.

Whatever your choice, I hope all goes well.


Hi Daisysue, I feel the thing you need to remember is that there are only 7 specialist centres across the whole of the UK. You will be required to attend reasonably regularly and any decision should be made on the most convenient centre to you. I was under the Royal Free and thought I was waiting too long for my transplant so went to see a hepatologist from Kings about moving over. He informed me that the waiting time would not be any quicker, and with the wonderful gift of hindsight it would have been a nightmare for my family to travel to see me. All of the centres have excellent reputations and I don’t think you will receive better treatment from one or the other.


Hi Daisysue, I was also attending my local hospital, during diagnoses which has a Liver unit but was transferred to one of the 7 centres (Royal Free) and the expertise is definitely more noticeable. Local hospital staff were lovely and I was seen on a timely basis but they don't see the amount of patients so experience is naturally less.

Travel and cost of travel is a signifcant factor so I would place that above any preference over the Kings or Birmingham.

My husband is a patient of QE being referred last October and having his transplant in April this year. The journey is 250 miles round trip. But we have felt so supported/safe/respected/welcomed/ and so on. They are an amazing team from the co-ordinators team/doctors/surgeons/nurses etc. We could not have asked for better care. I'm sure others will have similar experiences with other hospitals. This is our closest and although the journey on days is daunting it's worth it. Good luck with your journey x

Hi Daisysue,

Here is a list of all the UK liver units;

Best wishes


Thank you for all your replies.

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