Think Alcohol

THINK ALCOHOL is an alcohol screening programme aimed at reducing alcohol-related health problems and the number of hospital attendances and admissions related to alcohol.

All patients are screened who attend:

  • The Emergency Department and Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at City Hospital
  • The Emergency Department and the Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU) at Sandwell Hospital
  • Gastroenterology, Diabetes and Cardiology clinics at Sandwell, City, and Rowley Regis hospitals

Identifying people who are drinking at harmful levels and intervening with either brief advice, or referral to alcohol services, can lead to reductions in alcohol intake and a lower risk of developing alcohol-related health problems such as cirrhosis of the liver, stroke and hypertension.

Patients are screened using the Modified Single Alcohol Screening Question (MSASQ) (box) and depending on the result, can receive brief advice and a leaflet detailing the support available, or are offered referral to alcohol services such as Aquarius or Swanswell. The results of the assessment are sent back to the patient’s GPon the discharge letter from MAU and EAU.

Alcohol unit calculators can be found at NHS Choices, Drink Aware and BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat website.

Download the Pan-Birmingham SIPS leaflet here. It outlines brief advice regarding alcohol consumption and provides contact numbers for alcohol services in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull.

Alcohol services contact details
City Hospital 0121 414 0888
Heartlands Hospital 0121 414 0888
Good Hope Hospital 0121 414 0888
Queen Elizabeth Hospital 0121 414 0888
Solihull Hospital 07983 758 325
Sandwell General Hospital 0845 112 0100
Aquarius – to find a local group click here.

Other resources for patients and health professionals:
SWBH Engage
NHS Change for Life
British Liver Trust alcohol leaflet
Alcohol Concern
Birmingham Drug and Alcohol Action Team
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) local meetings The AA national telephone helpline number is 0845 769 7555 (24-hour service)

Educational resources for health professionals:
Alcohol Learning Centre
The Alcohol Learning Centre provides an e-learning package on alcohol developed by NHS Portsmouth and e-Learning for Healthcare which is supported by the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of General Practitioners and accredited by the Royal College of Nursing. Packages are available for general practice and hospital settings here. Five separate modules provide training on the assessment of alcohol intake, assessment of the harms due to alcohol, and on how to give brief advice, including the use of the FRAMES structure for brief advice. Video examples of assessment and brief advice in various healthcare settings are included in both packages. The GP package contains videos of a GP’s initial consultation with a patient, then three different scenarios where brief advice is provided (click here)