First UK-wide guidelines for alcohol

Public Health England | October  2019 |UK alcohol clinical guidelines development begins

Public Health England  (PHE)  is working in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments, to produce UK-wide clinical guidelines for alcohol treatment to provide support for alcohol treatment practice.

There is currently no equivalent for alcohol to the UK drug misuse treatment guidelines (the ‘orange book’), which has been vital in establishing and maintaining good practice for drug treatment. The proposed alcohol treatment guidelines will fill this gap.

The main aim of the guidelines is to develop a clear consensus on good practice and help services to implement interventions for alcohol use disorders that are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The aim is also to promote and support consistent good practice and improve the quality of service provision, resulting in better outcomes.

The project begins in November with the guidelines anticipated in early 2020.

Further details from the Department of Health and Social Care

UK alcohol clinical guidelines development begins

NICE: Alcohol interventions in secondary and further education

NICE | August 2019| Alcohol interventions in secondary and further education NICE guideline [NG135]

NICE have issued a new guideline which covers interventions in secondary and further education to prevent and reduce alcohol use among children and young people aged 11 up to and including 18. It also covers people aged 11 to 25 with special educational needs or disabilities in full-time education. It will also be relevant to children aged 11 in year 6 of primary school.

Read the guidance in full from NICE

Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England

NHS Digital | August 2019 | Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England

smoking yp

The Office for National Statistics  and NHS Digital have released the findings of the biennial survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11 (mostly aged 11 to 15), focusing on smoking, drinking and drug use. The survey covers a range of topics including prevalence, habits, attitudes, and for the first time in 2018, wellbeing.

A summary report showing key findings, excel tables with more detailed outcomes, technical appendices and a data quality statement (Source: NHS Digital).

Full details are available from NHS Digital

 

 

[NICE Guideline update] Alcohol-use disorders: prevention

NICE | August 2019| Alcohol-use disorders: prevention

 NICE has published its surveillance decision and will update the guideline on alcohol-use disorders: prevention (NICE guideline PH24). Areas indicated for update are:

  • screening children and young people aged 10 to 15 years, and 16 and 17 years (recommendations 6 and 7)
  • brief advice and extended brief interventions in adults (recommendations 10 and 11).

Full details are available from NICE 

Healthcare leaders call on Government to prioritise alcohol prevention

The British Medical Association (BMA) and other leading healthcare organisations have written to the public health minister expressing their concerns over the impact that alcohol is having on the nation’s health urging the Government to prioritise a new alcohol strategy.

In the letter to Seema Kennedy MP, the BMA board of science chair, Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, along with the chairs of the Royal Colleges, warn of the ‘escalating risk to public health’.

The letter warns that despite recent strategies for obesity and tobacco, there has been a “lack of strategic focus” and asks that the Government prioritises alcohol in the same manner and works to urgently produce an updated and ambitious national alcohol strategy.

BMJ Open study: Alcohol consumption as a modifiable risk factor for breast cancer

Sinclair JMcCann MSheldon E, et al | 2019| The acceptability of addressing alcohol consumption as a modifiable risk factor for breast cancer: a mixed method study within breast screening services and symptomatic breast clinics| 

New research now published in the BMJ Open, recruited women attending NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) mammograms, symptomatic breast clinics and healthcare professionals in these settings, the study used a mixed-methods approach- interviews and surveys- to ask women about their knowledge and attitudes towards alcohol as a risk factor for breast cancer.
The findings highlight that only 20 per cent of women in the sample recognised alcohol as a breast cancer risk factor, almost half of NHS staff identified it as a risk factor. 
adult-alcohol-alcoholic-beverage-1850595.jpg

Objectives Potentially modifiable risk factors account for approximately 23% of breast cancers, with obesity and alcohol being the two greatest. Breast screening and symptomatic clinical attendances provide opportunities (‘teachable moments’) to link health promotion and breast cancer-prevention advice within established clinical pathways. This study explored knowledge and attitudes towards alcohol as a risk factor for breast cancer, and potential challenges inherent in incorporating advice about alcohol health risks into breast clinics and screening appointments.

Design A mixed-method study including a survey on risk factors for breast cancer and understanding of alcohol content. Survey results were explored in a series of five focus groups with women and eight semi-structured interviews with health professionals.

Setting Women attending NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) mammograms, symptomatic breast clinics and healthcare professionals in those settings.

Participants 205 women were recruited (102 NHSBSP attenders and 103 symptomatic breast clinic attenders) and 33 NHS Staff.

Results Alcohol was identified as a breast cancer risk factor by 40/205 (19.5%) of attenders and 16/33 (48.5%) of staff. Overall 66.5% of attenders drank alcohol, and 56.6% could not estimate correctly the alcohol content of any of four commonly consumed alcoholic drinks. All women agreed that including a prevention-focussed intervention would not reduce the likelihood of their attendance at screening mammograms or breast clinics. Qualitative data highlighted concerns in both women and staff of how to talk about alcohol and risk factors for breast cancer in a non-stigmatising way, as well as ambivalence from specialist staff as to their role in health promotion.

Conclusions Levels of alcohol health literacy and numeracy were low. Adding prevention interventions to screening and/or symptomatic clinics appears acceptable to attendees, highlighting the potential for using these opportunities as ‘teachable moments’. However, there are substantial cultural and systemic challenges to overcome if this is to be implemented successfully.

Read the article in full from the BMJ Open

In the news:

BBC News Women not aware enough of breast cancer link to alcohol

[NICE Consultation] Alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis, assessment and management of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence

NICE | April 2019 | Alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis, assessment and management of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence Clinical guideline [CG115]

The NICE consultation on Alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis, assessment and management of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence Clinical guideline [CG115] is open until 8 May 2019

Full details are available from NICE 

See also: [NICE Surveillance Consultation] Alcohol-use disorders: prevention