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Alcohol care teams to be rolled out as part of the NHS long-term plan



Alcohol care teams are set to be rolled out in hospitals with the highest number of alcohol-related admissions, as part of the NHS long-term plan, NHS England has announced.

The new teams will be targeted to the 25% worst-affected parts of the country and aim to prevent 50,000 admissions and nearly 250,000 bed days over five years.

NHS England said it will also roll-out a scheme to help half-a-million patients stop smoking, including pregnant women and their partners, with all smokers admitted to hospital being encouraged to quit.

To maximise the effectiveness of the new plans, NHS England explained areas with the greatest level of need will be prioritised in order to help 600,000 people quit over the next five years.

The two schemes will provide 20–40 minute advice sessions and personalised feedback to people about their level of health risk.

The services are based on a ones already running in Manchester, which is expected to save £10m and over 30,000 hospital beds across the city.

BMA board of science chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar welcomed the plan but said more needed to be done on public health.

She said: ‘As well as the implementation of these services in the NHS, the Government needs to introduce broader measures, such a minimum unit pricing for beer, wines and spirits, to achieve a largescale improvement in the population’s health.

‘It is welcome that the Government is beginning to recognise the importance of prevention and must now ensure that these plans are deliverable, sustainable, and serve the long-term needs of the public.’

PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie said: ‘Investing in prevention is the smartest thing the NHS can do. Tobacco kills 1,500 people a week so helping people to quit when admitted to hospital helps them, their families and the taxpayer.’

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘The NHS long term plan delivers a sea-change in care for a range of major conditions like cancer, mental ill health and heart disease, as well as stepping up to do more on preventing ill health in the first place by giving patients the support they need to take greater control of their own health and stay fitter longer.’

Last year, a major Pulse investigation revealed that nine out of ten councils had cut their budgets for sexual health, alcohol misuse and weight management services for 2018/19, after brutal cuts from central government.