Targeted training leads to significant increase in the delivery of alcohol interventions in primary care, new study shows

New research published today (8 February) shows a marked increase in the delivery of alcohol brief interventions in primary care settings where nurse mentors are specifically trained, bringing significant benefits to those at risk of alcohol harm.

The research, funded by Alcohol Research UK and conducted by Substance Misuse Management Good Practice (SMMGP), highlights the key role that nurse mentors can play in leading the implementation of alcohol brief interventions. By offering brief advice to those at risk, clinicians are able to advise patients on effective strategies to reduce their drinking.

Key findings from the study show:

  • Support of nurse mentors in primary care settings leads to a significant increase in the delivery of alcohol brief advice.
  • Awareness raising and training across the practice helps staff become more effective at identifying alcohol-related harm and in providing brief interventions to those at risk.
  • Supporting nurse mentors in leading on the implementation of alcohol brief advice has the potential for reducing alcohol-related harm in a primary care setting within existing resources.

Dr Steve Brinksman, from Substance Misuse Management Good Practice (SMMGP) and lead author of the study, said:

“The primary care team has great strengths in identifying, assessing and preventing health harms. By supporting nurse mentors in leading on the implementation of IBA there is potential for reducing alcohol-related harm within the existing resources of the surgery. This could support primary care in the practical implementation of an evidence based cost effective intervention which has experienced patchy uptake.”

Dr James Nicholls, Director of Research and Policy Development at Alcohol Research UK, said:

“Alcohol brief interventions are a key component in helping to identify people at risk of alcohol harm and in giving them the best advice to reduce that risk. But, despite the benefits, such interventions are not always implemented effectively.

“This research shows that with improved leadership, knowledge and training, alcohol brief interventions can bring about important benefits in primary care settings to those drinkers who are experiencing alcohol-related harm.”

The research report ‘Supporting nurse mentors to reduce the barriers to implementing alcohol Interventions and Brief Advice in primary care’ is available here.

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Notes to Editors

1. Alcohol brief interventions – known as ‘Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) in England – are designed to help healthcare professionals identify and support people at risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm.

2. SMMGP is a membership organisation. Our members include doctors, keyworkers, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, non-medical prescribers, peer mentors, expert patients.

  • We support the highest standards of practice in the treatment of problematic use of alcohol and drugs.
  • We offer continuing professional development and an enhanced scheme for SMMGP Premium Members
  • We govern the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Practitioners (FDAP) membership and accreditation function.
  • We host the National Substance Misuse Non-Medical Prescribing Forum (NSMNMPF) website.

For more information visit our website https://smmgp.org.uk/

3. Alcohol Research UK recently merged with Alcohol Concern. The merged charity works across the UK to reduce alcohol-related harm. For more information visit: www.alcoholresearchuk.org and www.alcoholconcern.org.uk.