Turning Point call for A and E specialists

News item posted: 04 April 2014

Leading health and social care provider Turning Point is calling on the NHS to put alcohol specialists in A and E departments.

Jackie Kennedy, Turning Point's Director of Substance Misuse Services, says this would identify dependent drinkers and get them into treatment quicker.  Her comments are in response to new figures showing that A and E staff dealt with 1.2 million admissions last year- an increase of more than 50,000.

She says: "These new statistics are yet further evidence of the importance of the government treating alcohol misuse seriously, and investing in alcohol treatment provision.

"Alcohol-related illness is a huge problem in this country, and one which is on the rise. More and more people are being admitted to A and E as a result of excessive drinking yet all too often, alcohol-related problems don't get picked up. This means people are likely to be turning up to A and E again and again without having their needs addressed, adding to NHS costs.

"We know from the support we provide in Gateshead A and E that patients benefit from brief alcohol intervention services in hospitals. By having staff based at A and E they are able to give patients advice and information, alcohol screening, health and unit awareness, as well as signposting to local and national alcohol services. Interventions at this stage have proven to help people understand the problems caused by excessive binge drinking and reduce the 'revolving door' of admissions into A and E. Service like this should be replicated across the country."