Since 1990, the Royal Bolton Hospital has been evolving a patient-centred, collaborative, seamless, holistic, gastroenterology, psychiatry, community model of alcohol care, team working, governance, research, training, education and health promotion. The aim is to deliver an accessible, responsive, cost-effective, rolled-out service. Consultant gastroenterologists, a specialist liaison psychiatrist, psychiatric alcohol liaison nurse, gastroenterology-based liver nurse practitioner and ward nurses provide joint inpatient and outpatient care for people with alcohol misuse, especially alcohol-related liver disease. A ward based, consultant-led, multidisciplinary team, with a dedicated social worker, meets daily to discuss all inpatients, unify treatment and facilitate discharges. On Monday–Friday, the two alcohol specialist nurses assess, triage and give brief advice to all alcohol-related medical admissions, liaise with consultants about admission or arrange outpatient appointments with the community alcohol team. This has reduced the average length of stay from 8.0 days to 5.7 days, saving the Trust more than 1000 bed days annually. This highlights the need for a 7 day alcohol specialist nurse service, one of 11 key recommendations in a recent position paper by the British Society of Gastroenterology, Alcohol Health Alliance UK and British Association for Study of the Liver on future alcohol care required in British district general hospitals. Other key recommendations include a hospital ‘alcohol care team’, with a lead clinician, coordinated policies in accident and emergency, with an outreach service, psychiatry input, adequate consultant numbers and integrated alcohol treatment pathways between primary and secondary care.
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