Medicine Services

Liver Medicine - Hepatology

The North East’s Regional Liver Medicine and Transplantation Service is based at the Freeman Hospital. It's one of the largest units of its kind in the UK, and provides expert care and treatment for all aspects of liver-related conditions.

Our liver specialists see patients from as far afield as Cumbria, North Yorkshire and up to the Scottish Borders. You can be referred to our service by your GP, hospital doctor or other healthcare professional, for example your midwife or key worker from the local drug and alcohol service. 

Every referral we receive is reviewed as quickly as possible to ensure that you can be offered appropriate treatment options.

What is Hepatology?

Hepatology is the medical specialty focusing on treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and biliary tree. It is traditionally considered a sub-specialty. 

Hepatologists treat liver diseases such as:

  • all types of hepatitis
  • liver cancers
  • cirrhosis of the liver (alcoholic liver disease).

Diseases and complications related to viral hepatitis and alcohol are the main reason for seeking specialist advice. It is estimated that more than 2 billion people worldwide have been infected with the Hepatitis B virus at some point in their life. Approximately 350 million have become persistent carriers.

Up to 80% of liver cancers can be attributed to either the Hepatitis B or C virus, and Hepatitis B is known to lead to liver damage if left untreated. With more widespread implementation of vaccination and stringent screening before blood transfusion, lower infection rates are expected in the future.

On a global scale alcohol consumption is increasing, so the number of people with cirrhosis and other related complications is on the increase.

Our specialists and services

Our specialist clinicians and nurse specialists run a wide range of clinics to assess and investigate liver disorders. You can find out more about our specialists on our 'meet the team' webpage.

You will be assessed and undergo a series of tests which may include an ultrasound scan of your liver. Some of the services we offer include:

  • Joint clinics with other specialists
  • Institute of Transplantation which carries out (among other things) liver, kidney, pancreas transplantation all under one roof so don’t need to be referred elsewhere during your care
  • Follow up clinics

You can find out more about liver disease.

Clinics and specialist services we provide

You can also find out about some of the specialist clinics we provide:

Clinical research

We have a well-established clinical trials unit working in close collaboration with Newcastle University. We are involved in numerous research projects to help develop potential new therapies which means our patients are often the first to benefit from ground-breaking new treatments.


The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in conjunction with Newcastle University, is undertaking research into the long-term outcomes of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). This will involve the collection of pre-existing clinical data on patients who have undergone a liver biopsy in the trust from 1990-2018 which has been diagnostic for NAFLD. For further information regarding this study please see the document below.

More information

Useful websites

Patient referrals

You can be referred to our service via your GP. All referrals are screened and prioritised by the consultant team, to ensure that you are directed to the most appropriate clinic as quickly as possible. Where necessary, liver function tests and, under certain circumstances, written clinical advice may be offered to GPs to initiate treatment before you are seen in our clinic.

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