With alcohol-related hospital admissions having doubled in the past eight years, it is essential to ensure that optimal medical care and treatment pathways for patients with alcohol use disorders are in place in acute hospital settings. People with alcohol use disorders can suffer from many conditions that are either directly or indirectly attributable to alcohol. Those who frequently attend NHS services often have complex health and social care needs and endure mental and physical comorbidities.
Part of the Health Innovation Network alcohol theme is focussing on Alcohol-related frequent attenders, and more broadly, alcohol care in the acute hospital setting. We convene a bi-monthly Clinical Network meeting for stakeholders – mainly specialist clinicians – from across the twelve boroughs of south London. We also welcome commissioners with an interest in developing services, service user representatives, key professionals from other involved third sector organisations and policy makers. This forum aims to enable sharing of best practice, updates on the latest research findings, policy and local service developments. We are currently finalising a Resource for Alcohol Care in the Acute Hospital Setting for those clinicians and commissioners who are keen to make a stronger case for service development in their area – be sure to keep an eye out for when this is published.
In order to improve patient experience, we have produced a short film and accompanying training pack, highlighting some of the stigma endured by individuals with alcohol problems when they seek healthcare. Excellent care is largely provided but non-specialist staff can be less aware of the patient diversity and issues relating to their illness. The training will be available shortly via the Health Education England online training portal and we hope it will increase awareness and encourage compassion across the NHS workforce.