Wirral NHS Primary Care Trust have officially launched an innovative new alcohol harm reduction programme in response to the Government’s recent report on alcohol strategy.
In a keynote speech at the launch today, Professor Ian Gilmore, a leading expert in the field, praised Wirral PCT for their radical approach amongst the first of it’s kind in the country.
Wirral’s Alcohol Screening & Brief Intervention Programme aims to prevent many of the long–term health risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol screening and brief intervention enables every patient to be assessed as a ‘safe’ ‘hazardous’ or ‘harmful’ drinker, in order to enable early diagnosis and help prevent long-term damage before it happens.
Dr Shyamal Mukherjee, Medical Director with, Wirral PCT explains; “This is a leading example nationally of a PCT taking direct, positive action by engaging with every practice and training them to deliver alcohol screening and brief (early) intervention. Twenty-five local GP practices have already started running routine alcohol screening as ‘early participants’ with considerable success, and we are now looking to engage with every practice in the PCT in order to provide this vital patient care service.”
During today’s launch, Wirral NHS PCT commended all early participants and presented awards to three local practices; Commonfield Road Practice, Hamilton Medical Centre in Birkenhead and Field Road Medical Centre in Wallasey, for ‘excellence’ in alcohol misuse.
Stefan Janikiewicz, Clinical Director of the Wirral and Chester Drug and Alcohol Service, has been involved in the planning of this programme. He said: “I would argue that excessive drinking and alcohol misuse is the biggest national problem currently facing the NHS. If general practice doesn’t address this issue, who will? I believe that alcohol screening and brief intervention should be a normal part of everyday consulting with every patient, and I would encourage every practice to start engaging with the issue.”