Fall in alcohol-related hospital admissions

Wigan Infirmary

Wigan Infirmary

There has been a big fall in the number of people admitted to hospital in Wigan for alcohol-related issues.

That is because patients with alcohol dependency who regularly present at A&E are instead often now being referred to a specialist team.

Figures show that before the new arrangement was introduced, the average admission rate per quarter of the year was 208. It is now 172: a fall of 17.3 per cent.

Despite turning up at casualty, many of the patients do not have any immediate physical or medical problems — but are typically isolated and in poor mental health as a result of alcohol use. The specialist team provides intensive, all-round support to high-risk, complex individuals.

The initiative is delivered by the Wigan and Leigh Recovery Partnership and WWL, alongside other partners. Staff help not only with clients’ alcohol misuse but also the other issues in their lives that can affect their recovery – for instance, accommodation, domestic violence and mental health.

Since the Active Case Management approach was expanded in the borough two years ago, the rate of emergency admissions for alcohol-specific issues have fallen for the first time below the national average. And the cost of alcohol-related hospital admissions fell by £800,000 in the year since the scheme was implemented.

Meanwhile those who successfully complete the programme drink 97 per cent less and feel their quality of life is 81 per cent better than when they entered the service.

As part of the scheme, GPs have been able to identify patients with a high risk of attending hospital in the next 12 months who have had previous alcohol-specific admissions or outpatient appointments.

The partnership is delivered by the Greater Manchester West NHS Trust and leading substance misuse and mental health charity Addaction. Also involved include the Live Well Complex Dependency Team, the fire service, police, council, The Brick and a various other specialists.