The Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is launching targeted clinics in its Emergency Department to help staff spot alcohol misuse among patients arriving through its doors.

Staff will be trained in what is known as ‘brief intervention’, which is an evidenced based support delivered by a health care professional (HCP) in less than five minutes. The HCP quickly identifies the patient’s risk based on key signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug substance use, provides brief advice when appropriate and refers the patient to specialist services if needed.

With the rate of alcohol consumption on the rise, and most concerns focusing on the older generation who often do not know the full extent of their daily consumption, the substance misuse liaison service is keen to tackle the issue head on to prevent further alcohol-related illness or injury.

“At the Great Western Hospital, we have support available for everyone who needs it,” said Ian Mitchell, Substance Misuse Liaison Officer.

“The Substance Misuse Liaison service offers alcohol screening and outpatient appointments for those who require on-going support after discharge. They also provide harm reduction advice and offer confidential assessment with the aim of providing treatment options.

“We also direct patients to external services that can offer continued support where necessary too. Turning Point is the addiction service for Swindon residents and can offer advice on medications to aid withdrawal and work with clinical staff that are treating a patient.”

Across the nation, an alarming number of hospital admissions are alcohol related but the Trust hopes that with increased staff awareness and a proactive approach in supporting patients suffering with addiction, it will see patients benefit from the support services available and eventually improve on the alcohol misuse illness numbers in the region.



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