GPs and nurses can do more to increase delivery of Alcohol Identification and Brief Advice (IBA), according to research commissioned by the Department of Health.
This was the finding of research commissioned as part of the Alcohol Effects campaign that indicates some healthcare professionals may underestimate its potential impact.
A survey of healthcare professionals revealed that some GPs and nurses saw IBA solely as a diagnostic tool when in fact robust evidence shows that it serves as an intervention in its own right – reducing consumption to lower risk levels for one ineight higher risk drinkers. Some healthcare professionals also viewed the tool principally as a way to identify dependent drinkers, rather than it being aimed at all drinkers who are regularly drinking more than the NHS advises.
Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians said: “IBAs really work, and are up there with some of the most effective interventions that are available to us in healthcare. Many healthcare workers don’t realise that IBAs for harmful drinkers are even more effective than current interventions for smoking. Let’s take every opportunity to reduce this preventable burden of health harm”
The IBA involves using quick and simple tools to not only accurately identify patients’ levels of risk in relation to their drinking, but help those drinking at increasing and higher risk levels to recognise the potential risk and cut down. It prompts drinkers to reconsider their behaviour and encourages them to reduce their consumption to lower risk levels