The Department of Health has appointed Dr Martin Lombard as the first national clinical director for liver disease.

Dr Lombard, who will start his new role today, is consultant hepatologist and clinical director for gastroenterology services at the Royal Liverpool University Hospitals Trust.

One of his first tasks will be to lead the development of a national liver strategy for England which will bring together NHS services to help tackle the country’s growing levels of liver disease.

Health minister Ann Keen said: “Dr Lombard is a highly respected clinical expert in this field and I am pleased to welcome him to the Department of Health to lead our national liver strategy.

“I am confident that Dr Lombard will build on the work already underway to make a real difference for patients and for healthcare staff working in this area.”

Dr Lombard said: “I’m looking forward to leading the Department of Health’s work with staff across the NHS, patients and patient groups to develop a national liver strategy and provide real advances in the quality of care across this important area of medicine.”

Dr Lombard will continue to work part time at the Royal Liverpool University Hospitals Trust.