Hounslow’s Alcohol Care Team brings down alcohol-related hospital admissions

Hounslow Council and local NHS trusts have collaboratively established an Alcohol Care Team, targeting a significant rise in alcohol-related admissions over a decade (1,353 in 2010/11 to 2,152 in 2019/20).

Published: Monday, 18th March 2024

Ben Blackman Alcohol Care Team Leader and Kishera Menzie Alcohol Care Team Nurse.

This initiative started in 2022 has successfully reduced readmissions by 55% by providing comprehensive support and intervention strategies, including personal recovery plans and community-based expert consultations.

These readmissions fell from 732 (2021) in the year before the Alcohol Care Team was introduced at the West Middlesex University Hospital, to 330 in the last year (2022). The reduction surprised everyone, as it followed a steady upward trend in readmissions over the decade prior to the team starting work.

Furthermore the team, based at West Middlesex A&E seven days a week, has been instrumental in facilitating long-term treatment for numerous individuals, alongside offering specialised training to medical professionals to enhance patient care in alcohol-related cases.

On the hospital wards the Alcohol Care Team supports vulnerable people to break the cycle of visiting A&E on a sometimes monthly or weekly basis. Thousands of people have spoken to the team about the ways they could work to address their drinking, including keeping a drinking diary, being seen by an expert within their community, and changing what they drink.

The Alcohol Care Team has also helped 211 people receive longer term treatment at Addiction Recovery Community Hounslow (ARC), a free and confidential drug and alcohol treatment service for people who live in Hounslow.

A Hounslow resident who was referred to ARC after working with the Alcohol Care Team, said:

“This programme works. And it has changed my life. I honestly didn’t believe I would be here graduating, sober and making positive changes in my life. I had resigned myself to being a waste of space addict after countless relapses.

“I’ve been in intensive care, clinically dead and seen the inside of more ambulances, either for me or my fiancé, than I can count. But I’m still alive and for the first time in a very long time I feel healthy and have some hope back.”

Dr Emma Rowlandson MBBS FRCP, Consultant in Acute Medicine, Clinical Director Medical Specialties, West Middlesex University Hospital, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This partnership project has been a true collaborative effort from the start, with cross-organisational working between NHS Trusts and the Local Authority. From designing the new service model, business case, and receiving funding for the two-year project from the Hounslow Borough Based Partnership, the Alcohol Care Team has been able to make a positive difference to the lives of patients living with alcohol dependency and other alcohol related issues.

“Day-to-day there is also strong partnership working across different teams, plus the Alcohol Care Team have trained the wider hospital workforce to develop their skills when supporting patients with alcohol related issues, which has helped to deliver better care to patients and led to an improved working experience for staff.” 

Councillor Samia Chaudhary, Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Transformation, said: "The performance of the recently established Alcohol Care Team has been exceptional over the last couple of years, and I am pleased to see Hounslow Council fully backing this pioneering initiative.

“We take pride in the significant positive influence the Alcohol Care Team has had at the hospital. They have not only assisted patients in transforming their lives but have also provided training and support to hospital staff. Their achievements highlight the effectiveness of a dedicated and skilled team collaborating closely with local NHS Trusts and the council through a Borough Based Partnership."

The Alcohol Care Team was launched as a two-year Hounslow Borough Based Partnership project (2022-2024). It brings together Hounslow Council, West London NHS Trust, Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare, North West London ICB and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation NHS Trust, with a shared commitment to ensure communities live healthy, happy and connected lives. 

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