Alcohol Occasionals event report – Feb 2021

Exploring men’s alcohol consumption in the context of becoming a father: A scoping review – Dr Elena Dimova

In our second Alcohol Occasionals event of 2021 held on Thursday 25 February, Dr Elena Dimova, Postgraduate Researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University, presented: “Exploring men’s alcohol consumption in the context of becoming a father: A scoping review“.

You can read the event report on the SHAAP website.

You can also watch Elena’s presentation and the presentation with discussion and Q+A

Alcohol Occasionals event report – Jan 2021

Beyond behaviours: How health inequality theory can enhance our understanding of the ‘alcohol harm paradox’ – Jennifer Boyd

In our first Alcohol Occasionals event of 2021 held on Wednesday 20 January, Jennifer Boyd, PhD Student at the University of Sheffield, presented: “Beyond behaviours: How health inequality theory can enhance our understanding of the ‘alcohol harm paradox’“.

You can read the event report on the SHAAP website.

You can also watch Jen’s presentation and the presentation with discussion and Q+A.

Latest data on alcohol published

The latest data on alcohol has been published by The Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS). The report includes key indicators on alcohol for Scotland, including sales data, price and affordability, self-reported consumption, and harm. The full report and additional files are available here

Alcohol Brief Interventions In Primary Care

Two new reports emphasise important role of primary care in reducing alcohol-related harms in Scotland. 

The reports were launched at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh on 22 June 2017 and the research was carried out by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling and the University of Newcastle. They highlight the important role that GPs have in raising the issue of alcohol use in GP consultations.

You can access the full reports by clicking on the titles below:

‘Practice and attitudes of General Practitioners in the delivery of Alcohol Brief Interventions in Scotland’

‘Financial incentives for Alcohol Brief Interventions in Primary Care in Scotland’ 

The reports precede the imminent publication of the Scottish Government’s ‘refresh’ of its 2009 strategy, Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action. Scotland continues to have the highest level of alcohol consumption and harm in the UK. One million Scots drink above the recommended guidelines, and 22 Scots die because of alcohol every single week – twice the rate of the 1980s.

Professor Aisha Holloway, University of Edinburgh, said:

“Delivering Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) is not just about the operational mechanisms associated with the national ABI programme i.e. funding, training and IT systems. It is also about GPs having the time to provide person-centred care to understand the complexities of external social and personal issues that people are facing that can trigger harmful/hazardous consumption.”

Dr Niamh Fitzgerald, Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling said:

“Whilst Scotland’s national programme of Alcohol Brief Interventions is amongst the most extensive of any country, it has contributed little in terms of research on how best to incentivise practitioners to talk to patients about alcohol. As Scotland rolls out its new national strategy, there is also an opportunity for Scotland to lead not only in terms of practice, but in developing globally innovative research on how to optimise such conversations to benefit patients.”

Dr Peter Rice, Chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), who funded both investigations, said:

“SHAAP has advocated for Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) since our foundation in 2006 and Scotland has been a world leader in the implementation of ABIs. ABIs are strongly supported by the World Health Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) as a key tool in reducing alcohol related harm.  It is vital that, as it refreshes its Alcohol Strategy, the Scottish Government draws on important sources of data, such as these two new reports, to understand how to enhance and develop the national ABI programme, for the benefit of patients.”

Dr Richard Watson, who represents the Royal College of General Practitioners on SHAAP’s Steering Group, and who works in a busy GP practice in Cambuslang, said:

“GPs in Scotland see patients with hazardous drinking not just every working day but every working hour. Both reports show in different ways that brief interventions can and should be delivered in primary care.  I hope that when the new GP contract is finalised, it finds a place for them.”

The information has been issued by the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), Institute for Social Marketing – University of Stirling, University of Newcastle, and University of Edinburgh.

Stricter Licensing Related to Fewer Hospital Admissions.

A recent report funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) and published in  the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health argues that  stricter local alcohol licensing is linked to fewer hospital admissions.

The researchers assessed the alcohol licensing policies and responses to alcohol licensing applications made to 326 local authorities (councils) between 2007-8 and 2011-12 and generated a ‘cumulative licensing intensity score’ for each council, based on whether they deployed CIZ and/or whether they refused to grant licenses for new premises. The score was divided into four categories: no activity; low; medium; and high.

In 2007-8, 118 out of 319 (37%) local councils operated some form of active alcohol licensing policy, one in five of which also included CIZ for new premises. The cumulative intensity licensing score was classified as medium or high in around a third (35%) of councils; 43% were classified as no activity; while 21% were classified as low. By 2014, a further 63 councils had adopted active alcohol licensing policies.
After taking account of influential factors, such as deprivation and drink-fuelled crime, the analysis showed that the intensity of alcohol licensing policies was associated with a reduction in drink related hospital admissions between 2009 and 2015. The largest effects were seen in those local authority areas operating the most comprehensive policies.

Drink related hospital admissions fell by an average of 0.6% every year in those local authorities with a medium score twice as large as the fall in the average admission rate between 2009 and 2015 in those local authorities without an active alcohol policy.

In the local authorities classified as high, drink related hospital admissions fell by 2% every year, or around 8 fewer drink related admissions per 100,000 of the population in 2015, compared with what would have been expected in the absence of any active policy. The researchers emphasise that this is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. And they point out that the findings could also be the result of other additional alcohol policies, such as late night levies, or alcohol screening, which they did not investigate.

But they conclude: “These analyses contribute to the available evidence on the effectiveness of population level alcohol licensing policies specifically for England, and are the first to demonstrate that the intensity with which selected alcohol licensing policies are implemented and scrutinised is related to measurable reductions in alcohol attributable hospital admissions.”

This information has been taken from a BMJ press release.