Work begins on the first UK-wide guidelines for alcohol treatment

  • Public Health England

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
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Work is to begin next month on developing the first UK-wide clinical guidelines for alcohol treatment.

Public Health England (PHE) is partnering with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to produce the guidelines to support alcohol treatment practice.

In a statement, PHE said: “There is currently no equivalent for alcohol to the UK drug misuse treatment guidelines (the ‘orange book’), which has been vital in establishing and maintaining good practice for drug treatment. The proposed alcohol treatment guidelines will fill this gap.”

The main aim of the guidelines is to develop a clear consensus on good practice and help services to implement interventions for alcohol use disorders that are recommended by NICE.

The guidelines will provide the following:

  • A detailed framework for specialist service providers to support service delivery and staff training.
  • A framework for commissioners to design service specifications and check quality guidance for primary and secondary care staff.
  • Clear guidance on managing and supporting service user pathways, such as between hospital and community and prisons and community.
  • A reference point for national regulatory bodies when inspecting alcohol treatment services.

The announcement follows the findings of a recent PHE inquiry which found a fall in the number of people in alcohol treatment and identified a need for more alcohol-related expertise among staff in substance misuse services. The inquiry determined that some services need to stick closer to the evidence-based interventions recommended by NICE.

The project will get underway in November, with the guidelines expected to be published by the end of next year. PHE is convening a UK-wide expert group of senior clinicians, service users and professionals with specialist alcohol expertise, who will oversee the development of the guidelines.