Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

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

  • Comment
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.

Click here to read 'Beat the Bottle' a feature about alcohol misuse

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.