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Health Bull (Edinb). 2001 Nov;59(6):420-3.

Specialist alcohol liaison services in general hospitals improve engagement in alcohol rehabilitation and treatment outcome.

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  • 1Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Primary Care NHS Trust, Ravenscraig Hospital, Inverkip Road, Greenock.



To examine the impact of providing a specialist addictions trained psychiatric nurse on outcome of alcohol treatment in patients presenting to general medical and surgical wards of a district general hospital. Before introducing the specialist alcohol liaison service, a range of staff including a consultant liaison psychiatrist, junior psychiatrists and community psychiatric nurses trained in liaison psychiatry assessed this patient group.


A retrospective review of all alcohol liaison referrals with ICD-10 defined alcohol misuse was performed for one year. Comparison data for the first 100 referrals to the specialist alcohol liaison service were obtained prospectively. Indicators included diagnosis at referral, and engagement in and completion of alcohol rehabilitation.


The rates of completion of a four to six week period of alcohol rehabilitation were significantly better after introduction of the Specialist Alcohol Liaison Service. Of those who commenced alcohol rehabilitation, 88% completed, compared to 40% in the traditional assessment service (p < 0.0001).


Specialist addictions trained staff in the assessment and management of alcohol dependent patients in medical and surgical wards produce a better immediate outcome than their non-specialist colleagues. This may have implications for service design.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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