New national study of alcohol health workers published
A new study of alcohol health workers has found that while many hospitals now employ specialist staff to deal with alcohol problems among patients, the work is often precarious and underfunded.
In its 2012 Alcohol Strategy, the Government stated that hospital-based alcohol health workers played a 'vital' role in improving the future health of patients, and called for more alcohol liaison nurses to be employed.
The report, funded by Alcohol Research UK and carried out by researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University and the University of York, concludes that while positive steps are taking place, more investment and better research is needed to support this important role.
Dr Sarah Baker from Leeds Metropolitan University – and formerly with the University of York - carried out the research with Charlie Lloyd, from York's Department of Health Sciences.
Dr Baker said: "Hospital-based alcohol health workers are integral to the successful delivery of preventative and treatment based alcohol intervention. On-going financial and managerial support needs to be in place to ensure that these positions have the necessary resources to achieve their full potential."
James Nicholls, Director of Research and Policy Development at Alcohol Research UK, said: "The Government's Alcohol Strategy identified hospital-based specialists as key to tackling problems among patients with alcohol problems. It is vitally important that this role is adequately supported. We should ensure funding is available to protect existing provision and expand the number of hospitals providing this important service."