A new hospital clinic has been launched to treat rising numbers of people who turn up at accident and emergency with alcohol-related problems.
The Alcohol Liaison Service will be launched at Pinderfields Hospital next month in response to a worrying rise in people being hospitalised because of excessive drinking.
Specialist clinicians will identify people with signs of alcohol problems, offering advice to heavy drinkers and treatment for serious alcohol dependency.
Dr Andrew Furber, the district’s direct of public health, said health bosses were working to reduce an increase in alcohol related illness and injury.
He said: “Whilst we know the majority of people across Wakefield District enjoy alcohol sensibly, in recent years we have seen a significant rise in the numbers of people admitted to hospital for alcohol-related illness.”
Dr Furber said the service, run by social enterprise Spectrum Community Health, would refer patients for help with drink problems to reduce future hospital admissions.
He added: “However, we need to reverse this worrying trend and to reduce alcohol-related harm more broadly. To achieve this we need to tackle some of the underlying cultural issues.
“This requires a co-ordinated, partnership approach but this new service takes a significant step in realising the ambitions for the district set out in our three-year alcohol strategy.”
Sandra Wormald-McDade, head of alcohol and wellbeing at Spectrum Community Health, said: “It has been designed to support those who attend the Emergency Department and will extend into the wards supporting those admitted to hospital with signs of alcohol misuse.
“Patients will be offered the opportunity to attend one of our daily clinics, allowing our team to assess and treat on the spot.
“This could be by offering brief advice right through to treatment for more serious alcohol dependency.
“We will be providing a seamless transfer from hospital into community led support services and also improve care pathways so that only those requiring admission to a hospital bed are transferred.
“Additional training to existing medical and nursing staff will help them to identify those who need extra help in relation to alcohol misuse.”
Spectrum Community Health, based at White Rose House, Wakefield, was set up by former NHS staff, runs services including substance misuse, sexual health and prison health.