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PCT launches innovative alcohol screening programme

3 July 2007

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In response to the government’s recent damming report on alcohol, Wirral primary care trust (PCT) has launched a pioneering alcohol harm reduction programme.

The intervention, which is the first of its kind in the UK, will screen every patient to pass through the clinic, and assess them as a “safe”, “hazardous” or “harmful” drinker.

Wirral PCT hope this will enable early diagnosis and help prevent many of the long-term health risks associated with drinking too much alcohol.

Shyamal Mukherjee, medical director of Wirral PCT said: “This is a leading example nationally of a PCT taking direct, positive action by engaging with early practice and training them to deliver alchol screening and brief (early) intervention.”

Up to 25 local GP practices in the area have already started to routinely screen for alcohol “misuse”, with what Shyamal Mukherjee says is “considerable success”.

Three practices in Wirral have received awards for “excellence” in alcohol screening.

Stefan Janikiewicz, clinical director of the Wirral Alcohol Service, said: “If general practice doesn’t address this issue, who will?

“I believe that alcohol screening and brief intervention should be a normal part of everyday consulting with every patient, and I would encourage every practice to start engaging with the issue.”

Wirral Primary Care Trust