Drink!Informed: An Aid for Alcohol Services

February 29, 2016


Alcohol is one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK – the others being smoking and obesity. Alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost the UK economy £21 billion annually while a 2010 NHS Confederation report predicted that the cost to the NHS alone would soon reach £3.7 billion.  Today the NHS estimates that around 9% of men in the UK and 4% of women show signs of alcohol dependence.  Those worrying figures provide the backdrop to an innovation by staff at the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust who have developed Drink Informed. 

Drink Informed started out as a four-stage action-research programme, funded by NHS Innovation South East, Portsmouth CCG, The Helen Hamlyn Centre in London and Wessex AHSN.   It was designed to establish the nature and scale of the problem in the Portsmouth hospital  area and work with patients and professionals to develop a more effective, cost-effective and replicable response.

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The result is a fresh approach to working with individuals with alcohol dependency, backed-up by a toolkit that helps NHS staff engage proactively with patients to influence a positive change in behaviour.  Drinkinformed comprises a set of tools to encourage discussion and support explanation with documents about the body, a spectrum to show the trajectory of a patients drinking and 3D models. The kit has two distinct faces: one is patient facing to facilitate their recovery; the other supports and educates clinical staff across the hospital.


The aims of DrinkInformed are unashamedly ambitious - but they are also achievable, judging from feedback in Portsmouth. The toolkit seeks to inform and influence behaviour change in patients with alcohol dependency in order to improve outcomes for alcohol-dependent patients;

  • reduce demand for hospital resources from patients with alcohol dependency;
  • secure a longer-term  reduction in associated treatment and admission costs;
  • address alcohol misuse education in a way that generates new knowledge and adds real value to both nurse and patient
  • support the delivery of a solution designed to target those in the community with alcohol dependency in a sustainable manner and one which seeks to reduce the burden on the local health economy.

The Drink Informed toolkit is due to launch in Spring 2016 and will then be available nationally.  For more information or a copy of the Drinkinformed resources information booklet contact tony.hill@nisehub.co.uk

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