Nurse-led alcohol service praised for cutting costs through better care

An alcohol specialist nurse service has been praised by the government's financial watchdog for making significant cost savings through improvements in care.

The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen and University Hospitals Trust's specialist nurse service was singled out by the National Audit Office in a report calling for improvements to alcohol services.

Under the Liverpool initiative, patients identified by either a nurse or doctor as having an alcohol-related problem are referred to the ASN service.

They are then screened with a special questionnaire and given advice where appropriate.

The alcohol specialist nurse can also liaise with other medical staff, prescribe medication for acute alcohol withdrawal and develop follow-up pathways so patients can be managed in primary care.

Originally set up in 2004, the service has expanded to include four nurses, one funded by the hospital, with the others funded by Liverpool PCT.

The ASN service has reduced average alcohol consumption in patients treated, reduced re-admission and saved £175,000 in a 20-month period through earlier discharges.

Lynn Owens, nurse consultant at the PCT and one of the nurses who runs the service, said similar clinics could help other hospitals save money and improve patient care.

She told NT: 'It reduces the necessity to stay in hospital when patients come in with other co-morbidities and conditions. We are also better able to treat them in their own homes.

'There is no waiting list, [patients] get treatment when they need it, with dignity and compassion,' she added.

The NAO's report, Reducing Alcohol Harm: Health Services in England, surveyed all PCTs in the country and found that one-quarter had not fully assessed alcohol problems in their areas. It also found that 42% had no alcohol strategy and 31% could not provide details of expenditure on alcohol services.

'There is scope to secure better value for money from PCT expenditure on alcohol services, which is not usually based on a clear picture of need,' the report concluded.
source: Nursing Times



  1. Jerome said,

    That's cool, they should include that in their field of work so that the people who are alcoholic would learned what are the side effects of drinking too much alcohol.

    rsa online

    on February 24, 2011 at 6:07 AM