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Hospitals introduce dedicated alcohol care teams under NHS plan

The NHS plans to place dedicated alcohol care teams in 50 hospitals to assist alcohol abuse patients as part of a host of new long-term initiatives unveiled by the government. The new teams will be in areas with the highest incidence of alcohol-related admissions, providing treatment for patients experiencing alcohol-abuse issues, and support for their families.

The focus of the teams will be to persuade individuals who drink heavily to cut back on their consumption of alcoholic beverages. They will offer advice sessions of between 20 and 40 minutes to provide personalised advice to heavy drinkers on their alcohol intake level and how to reduce it. The teams will coordinate with other service providers in the local communities to provide support through counselling services as well as medical help.

The goal is to reduce the annual £3.7bn cost that the NHS incurs treating problems related to alcohol abuse by preventing about 50,000 alcohol-related admissions to hospitals over the next five years, resulting in a saving of 250,000 bed-days over that period.

Several hospitals already use a similar system, including those in Manchester. Reports show that the system has significantly lowered A&E admissions, hospital stays by people abusing alcohol, calls for ambulance service, and hospital re-admissions. Duncan Selbie, the chief executive for Public Health England (PHE), praised the initiative, saying that the proposed investment in prevention is “the smartest thing the NHS can do.”

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