Alcohol care team launched

A new alcohol care team (ACT), based at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and working jointly with staff from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, will begin operating in October 2018.

alcoholInitially a six-month pilot, the team aims to reduce avoidable admissions and lengths of stay for patients with alcohol problems.

Nationally 13-20% of all hospital admissions are alcohol related (NICE, 2016). In 2016/2017, King’s College Hospital’s Emergency Department had 139,618 attendances and it is estimated that around 55,000 of these were alcohol related. 

ACTs deliver interventions such as alcohol screening and assessment, brief interventions, relapse management and medically assisted withdrawal from alcohol within 24 hours of the detection of alcohol-related problems. The teams typically work in partnership with hospital services and local community specialist alcohol services to ensure patients’ needs are met and to keep them out of hospital wherever possible. The new team at King’s College Hospital will work closely with psychiatric liaison services in the Trust, and the team will be hosted by the hepatology service, working across the whole hospital. They will also work in partnership with South London and Maudsley to ensure both physical and mental health needs of patients are met.

The team is jointly funded by King’s College Hospital and Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group. Its establishment means that all the elements of the King’s Health Partners alcohol strategy will now be implemented, specifically each trust within King’s Health Partners will now have an appropriately resourced multi-disciplinary ACT for alcohol care and support. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust currently has a seven day-a-week alcohol care team which provides support for all patients with alcohol use disorders.

Dr Emily Finch, Clinical Director of the Southwark, Central Acute and Addictions Directorate and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said:

This is a very exciting development representing a great example of cross partner working. By providing a comprehensive multi-disciplinary Alcohol Care Team, a dedicated service will always be available in the Emergency Department to see patients.
We hope the team will achieve significant reductions in the number of people requiring hospital admission, reduce re-admissions and improve patient experience. The team will also work with colleagues across King’s Health Partners on academic collaborations around alcohol.

The King’s Health Partners Addictions Clinical Academic Group are one of the largest providers of NHS addictions services in the UK.