British Liver Nurses' Association

The British Liver Nurses' Association (BLNA) is a special interest group of the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL). The BLNA is a new organisation formed following a merger of the BASL Nurse Forum and the British Liver Nurse Forum and will be launched at the Nurses Meeting at BASL on 21st September 2017. It is a professional nursing organisation aiming to develop knowledge and understanding of liver disease, in order to improve the quality of patient care, through:

  • The advancement of good clinical practice in the care of individuals with, or at risk of liver disease;
  • The promotion and dissemination of patient-focussed research;
  • The provision of educational support and educational opportunities in the field of hepatology;
  • The promotion of a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach to caring for people with liver disease.

BLNA aims to offer support for all nurses who see patients with or at risk of developing liver disease. Nurse members of BASL currently include nurses working within gastroenterology wards, the community, research, paediatrics and transplant, but with one common goal - to improve care for those with liver disease.

BLNA Meetings

The BASL Nurses Annual Meeting usually takes places on the middle day of the BASL Annual Meeting, which for 2017 will be on Thursday 21st September at the Warwick Conference Centre, Coventry. A full day’s educational programme is delivered and also offers a fantastic networking opportunity.

Nurse travel bursaries are ususally available to attend the BASL Annual Meeting and Nurses Day and when available are advertised on the website and on the BASL Annual Meeting; .

The full BLNA Committee will appear below in the coming months:

BASL NF Chair Fiona Fry, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
BLNF Chair Michelle Clayton, Leeds Teaching Hospital
Membership Representative Sheila Needs, Torbay Hospital, Torquay, Devon
Education Representative Kathryn Oakes, Kings College Hospital, London
End of Life Care Representative Sarah Tarff, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals
NHIVNA Link Sally Bufton, University Hospital Birmingham
Alcohol Liaison Representative Mark Holmes, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Substance Misuse Service
Committee Member Elaine McFarlane, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Fiona Fry BEM, Hepatology CNS, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital

Fiona Fry BEM, BSc (Hons), Independent Non-Medical Prescriber, is the Senior Hepatology Nurse Specialist at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter, and has been actively involved in the BASLNF for the past 6 years. She has worked within gastroenterology and emergency medicine for the last 24 years and has been in her current role for 13 years. Fiona sees patients with a wide range of liver disease and has a specialist interest in alcohol related liver disease and viral hepatitis. She is especially committed to highlighting inequalities and ensuring equal access of care for disadvantaged patients, through the establishment of outreach services.

Elaine McFarlane, Hepatology CNS, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Elaine McFarlane M.Med.Sci, Independent Non-medical Prescriber, is a Hepatology Nurse Specialist at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She has been in post for the past 15 years and cares for patients with all kinds of Liver disease. She has a specialist interest in Autoimmune Liver disease, Haemochromatosis and Viral Hepatitis. She has been a committee member of the BASLNF for the past 3 years.

Sheila Needs, Liver CNS, Torbay Hospital, Torquay, Devon

Sheila is the Clinical Nurse Specialist at Torbay Hospital in Torquay caring for patients with a variety of liver diseases but with a special interest in viral hepatitis and haemochromatosis. She has been a committee member of BASLNF for the past 3 years and also a nurse member of The South West Hepatology Network.

Kathryn Oakes, Viral Hepatitis CNS, Kings College Hospital, London

Kath is the Lead Viral Hepatitis CNS at Kings College Hospital (KCH), she has been a committee member of BASLNF for two and a half years. She has a hepatology and ITU background and has worked within the hepatitis team at KCH for the last ten years, becoming the lead CNS six years ago.

Kath is a non-medical prescriber and leads a team of five clinical nurse specialists. She has set up a support group for patients and a wide range of nurse led services which include a prescribing service for HBV patients and community clinics across drug and alcohol services and GP centres. The team also cater for a complex patient population and provide pre-diagnostic services and an antenatal liaison programme for HBV infected pregnant women.  

Kath works closely with the London Joint Working Group on substance misuse and Hepatitis C and is currently involved with the pre-NICE access treatment programme for HCV patients. She has recently published articles on the prevalence, pathophysiology and management of HBV and was also on the editorial panel for the BASLNF toolkits.

Sally Bufton, Hepatitis Specialist Nurse, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Sally Bufton has been a Hepatitis Specialist Nurse since January 2010 at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. Prior to this she has worked in the same Birmingham NHS Trust with liver patients since 1991, as a nurse on the liver ward and Liver Intensive Care unit, and then as Liver Recipient Transplant Coordinator for 13.5 years, dealing with end stage liver disease, cirrhotic and liver transplantation patients. She has a BSc (Hons) in Nursing and an MSc in Health Care Policy and Management.

Sally now treats patients with Hepatitis B and C, non transplant and post liver transplant recipients. The team treats up to 100 patients a year with Hepatitis C, treating many complex patients including those with cirrhosis, co-infection with HIV, end stage renal failure and post liver transplant.

Sally is an independent non-medical prescriber and run nurse led clinics to initiate and monitor patients on treatment. She has helped develop a Homecare service for Chronic Hepatitis B patients in the community, set up a new Nurse Led Hepatitis B clinic in the hospital environment and is currently involved in setting up a community based Hepatitis C clinic within a large GP practice. She also peer reviews articles for the Nursing and Health Services Journal and Progress in Transplantation.

Sarah Tarff, Liver Nurse Specialist, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Sarah Tarff BSc (Hons), independent Non-medical prescriber is the Lead Liver nurse specialist at Basildon & Thurrock University Hospital. She has worked within Gastroenterology and Hepatology for the last 13 years. She has a specialist interest in decompensated cirrhosis and its long term management including, improving quality of life and end of life care. She also has a keen interest in research. This is her 1st year as a committee member of the BASLNF (Nov 2014).

Mark Holmes, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Substance Misuse Service

Mark Holmes BSc, RMN, SPMH is a nationally respected addiction specialist and was awarded Nursing Times Nurse of the Year in 2012 for his work on preventing alcohol related hospital admissions by increasing levels of care. He is a Psychiatric Nurse with a First Class BSc specialising in substance misuse with NMC recognised Specialist Practitioner status in Mental Health. He has worked within the substance misuse field for nearly two decades developing services in community treatment, alcohol liaison, IBA, alcohol related long term conditions and End of life care. He works in the NHS but also is a consultant with Alcohol Concern.

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