Dear Patient

It is an uncertain time for all of us and particularly for those of you that have liver disease, are immunosuppressed or have had a liver transplant.

We know this will be an additional worry, when you may already be concerned and possibly confused by everything that is happening and all the advice that is being given. This has included much about social distancing.

We now need to advise you to reduce even more your contact with other people, to lessen your risk of being infected. This means you must self -isolate for the next 12 weeks.

We hope you find this information useful.

Coronaviruses are common viruses that usually present with a simple cold. With new strains, they can cause more severe disease and the most recent virus is associated with a condition called Coronavirus disease 2019. This virus is called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome 2 virus (SARS-Cov-2). This new virus and disease were the cause of the outbreak in China starting in December 2019 and now has spread to many parts of the world.

Symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Other flu-like symptoms.
  • In some cases, patients have diarrhoea.

Some transplant patients and those patients that are immune suppressed may develop pneumonia. At the current time, there are no vaccines but, there are studies ongoing to develop them. It is important to note that if you have these symptoms it does not mean you definitely have this infection, as many viral illnesses can cause similar symptoms. 


We are working very hard to work out the best way to monitor you and keep you as safe as possible during these difficult times.


As the situation evolves and the recommendations are changing so rapidly we will not be able to update you personally, but we will be posting the best and latest advice and recommendations for you on our facebook group, twitter or website (see below). Please also check for updates to official government advice at:


Facebook: South West Liver Unit -

Twitter: South West Hepatology Nurses -



Please be assured that we will always be here for you and will do our very best to keep you safe and healthy through this difficult time. If you have any questions please do get in touch but bear in mind we are very busy so it may take a while to get back to you.


Best Wishes

South West Liver Unit

The South West Liver Unit

picture of tower

Welcome to the South West Liver Unit (SWLU) website


The South West Liver Unit (SWLU) was established in 2010 and is part of University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPNT). This is the largest hospital trust in the South West Peninsula and is a University Teaching Hospital. 

Currently the SWLU is a large Hepatology unit that provides patient focussed services to approximately 2 million people across the local and wider population of the South West region. Our team of specialists deliver hepatology, hepatobiliary surgery and liver transplantation services. The unit currently assesses patients for liver transplantation from the region and looks after their post-operative care. The SWLU has strong links with the Liver unit at Kings College Hospital London and continues to work towards becoming a liver transplant centre.

The SWLU has an active clinical research programme in association with the University of Plymouth Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and a dynamic clinical trials program. There is an active undergraduate teaching programme and postgraduate training program, including liver National Training Number placements.

The SWLU was the first unit to register with the Improving Quality in Liver Services (IQILS) scheme and is working towards accreditation to acknowledge the high quality of care delivered by our service. Our patients are integral to our success and we are grateful to the patients that donate their time to help develop our services and encourage people to join the Patient Participation Group.

This website provides information about our facilities, services and performance. It has an evolving number of resources for patient education, links to external resources and information for our referring clinicians and partners.

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