Alcohol research in CLAHRC South London
5 Oct 2018

Alcohol research in CLAHRC South London

Published Date: 5 Oct 2018

A small percentage of patients with a diagnosis of alcohol-related problems (9%) make up a high percentage of unplanned visits to hospital accident and emergency departments and admissions to mental health care services (28%). (Source: HES 2012/13). Many of these frequent attenders also have complex mental, physical health and social care needs, with significant cost implications for the NHS.     

CLAHRC South London's alcohol theme is looking at how to better manage frequent attenders through a project to set up and evaluate an experimental assertive outreach service. As part of this research, they completed a national survey of assertive outreach services for alcohol-related frequent attenders in England which has had significant impact on health policymaking.

At the national level, this work has been cited in ‘The National Alcohol Policy Review’ published by Public Health England (Dec 2016). In the ‘Local Health and Care Planning: Menu of preventative interventions’ by Public Health England (Nov 2016), the alcohol section has been influenced by the work of CLAHRC South London, highlighting the need to establish alcohol assertive outreach teams. The research has been presented at two All Party Parliamentary Groups (Alcohol, Drugs and Justice; and Health), and cited in the House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act in 2017.

At the local level, the researchers supported Our Healthier South East London (CCG commissioners) and the Health Innovation Network (AHSN) to write a business case for expanding services for alcohol-related frequent attenders across south-east London. This was included in the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) for south-east London. In addition, in 2017/18 King’s Health Partners, the Academic Health Science Centre for south-east London, has recruited new specially trained nurses to work with alcohol-related frequent attenders.     

The research team worked with the Health Innovation Network (HIN) to produce an implementation guide for hospitals, citing local examples of alcohol assertive outreach interventions.

Contribution of CLAHRC South London

The NIHR CLAHRC funding contributed directly to researchers providing expert advice to local (South East London STP) and national (Public Health England) policy makers. This included research work funded by the CLAHRC which is of relevance to local and national healthcare policymaking and has been made available ahead of publication to policy makers. In particular, this has included our research on alcohol screening and brief interventions, which has led to national and local Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUINs) for acute hospitals.

What happened next?

The research team worked with the Health Innovation Network (HIN) to produce an implementation guide for hospitals, citing local examples of alcohol assertive outreach interventions. They also worked with the HIN to develop a national e-learning package to tackle alcohol stigma in the NHS, including a short film, which is hosted by Health Education England’s e-learning for health platform. Tools for prevention and treatment were showcased at a conference organised with the HIN in May 2017. CLAHRC researchers supported Public Health England to build a business case for NHS England to produce a national Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) for alcohol screening and brief intervention which is being implemented in all acute hospitals in England. Since April 2018, all hospital inpatients in England now receive alcohol screening and brief intervention.