THE rate of people dying early from liver disease in Blackburn with Darwen and Pennine Lancashire is worse than elsewhere in England, new figures reveal.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows the mortality rate from chronic liver disease for under 75s is 21.4 per 100,000 in Blackburn with Darwen, making it the fifth highest in England.

The figure for NHS East Lancashire CCG is 15.2 per 100,000.

The number of deaths compares to just 3.9 per 100,000 in South Norfolk CCG.

The number of premature deaths caused by alcoholic liver disease was 45 in the borough, a rate of 12.1 per 100,000, which is now significantly higher than the England figure of 8.7.

However the problems caused by excess alcohol consumption extend across Lancashire.

The county as a whole had 669 hospital admissions per 100,000 for alcohol-related conditions such as chronic liver disease.

The figures were revealed in 'Liver Atlas' published by PHE, which shows the rate at which people die early from liver is almost eight times higher in some parts of England than others.

Experts estimate that 90 per cent of liver disease is preventable, with the main risk factors including excess alcohol consumption, obesity and viral hepatitis.

The data also shows that people in the most deprived areas are more likely to go into hospital with an alcohol related condition than those from more affluent areas.

Public health bosses said the data shows the 'stark reality' of the problems caused by drinking excess alcohol in Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire.

Professor Dominic Harrison, director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen Council said that liver disease outcomes were 'poor' but that the borough is taking strategic and practical action to address the key drivers of the condition.

Prof Harrison said: "Our prevention programmes in partnership with communities will encourage people to consume less alcohol, specifically address harmful drinking and encourage people to be more physical active.”

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said liver disease was a 'concern' in Lancashire as in many other areas of the country.

Dr Karunanithi said: "Lancashire County Council offers support through its range of commissioned services for people who have concerns over their alcohol use, as well as testing for viral hepatitis for those at risk and, where appropriate, provision of needle exchange services.

“If you feel you or anyone you know is concerned over these issues, you can contact your local GP or one of our treatment services who will give you the support you need."

Dr Phil Huxley, Earby GP and Chair of East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “As a GP I see the shocking toll of alcohol abuse, whether that is binge drinking or excessive drinking over time.

"I would urge people to drink sensibly and really think through the dangers of abusing alcohol. Simply alternating an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink may be a sensible way of managing your alcohol consumption."