Public Health England (PHE) is working to produce the first UK-wide set of clinical guidelines for alcohol treatment, the agency has announced. While the UK drug misuse treatment guidelines – widely known as the ‘orange book’ – have helped to ensure good practice in drug treatment, there has so far been no equivalent for alcohol.
PHE is working in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to publish a set of clinical guidelines to ‘provide support for alcohol treatment practice’, it says. Alongside promoting consistent good practice and improving the quality of service provision, the aim is to develop a clear consensus and help services implement interventions recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The guidelines will provide a framework that commissioners can use when designing service specifications as well as a reference point for regulatory bodies when they inspect services. They will also provide guidance on managing service user pathways, such as those between hospital or prison and the community. PHE will start work on the guidelines next month using an expert group of clinicians, professionals and service users, with the aim of publishing by the end of 2020.
‘Effective alcohol treatment can help to reduce the burden that is placed on health and social care services as well as reducing crime, improving health, and supporting individuals and families on the road to recovery,’ said PHE’s director of alcohol, drugs, tobacco and justice, Rosanna O’Connor. ‘Our aim is that the guidelines will help to increase the number of people in the UK receiving effective treatment for alcohol-related harm or dependence.’
Meanwhile, a study by ASH states that a million people could be lifted out of poverty by ending smoking in England. Around 1,011,000 people have been driven into poverty through the cost of tobacco addiction, says the charity, while the four largest tobacco multinationals make annual profits in the UK of more than £1.5bn.
‘Poorer smokers tend to be more addicted and find it harder to quit,’ said chief executive Deborah Arnott. ‘Worse still they are disproportionately disadvantaged if they don’t, because of their smaller incomes. That’s why it’s vital that smokers are given the support they need to quit, funded by a “polluter pays” approach. This would force the extremely profitable transnational tobacco companies to pay to end smoking.’
Smoking and poverty 2019 at ash.org.uk – read it here