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Wirral PCT launches alcohol screening in pharmacies

Wirral PCT has launched an alcohol screening and short treatment service in pharmacies across its borough, in the wake of a similar programme already introduced in GP surgeries during 2007

Wirral Primary Care Trust (PCT) has launched an alcohol screening and short treatment service in pharmacies across its borough, in the wake of a similar programme already introduced in GP surgeries during 2007.

Alcohol screening and brief intervention enables healthcare professionals to assess people as safe, hazardous or harmful drinkers, so that an early diagnosis can be made to prevent long-term damage and health problems.

The free and confidential service provides customers with a relaxed environment to sit down and complete a short questionnaire about their alcohol consumption. Their answers to which will allow pharmacy staff to offer appropriate advice. A follow-up telephone service will also be offered, so that pharmacists can check on their progress.

"Wirral is leading the way nationally and many pharmacists have already started running routine alcohol screenings," said Andy Mills, head of partnership and engagement at Wirral PCT.

The healthcare provider is seeking to involve all pharmacies in the area and 56 have already signed up to the programme. Services are underway at 13 locations across the borough for any customers who are worried they are drinking more than they should.

"Excessive drinking and alcohol misuse is one of the biggest problems currently facing the NHS nationally," said Kathy Doran, chief executive of the Wirral PCT and chairman of Wirral's Drug and Alcohol Addiction Team (DAAT). "Wirral's alcohol screening and intervention programme is our response to the government's alcohol strategy and is already seeing some dramatic results."

18th July 2008

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