PERFORMANCE: Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust is introducing a screening programme to help reduce alcohol-related illnesses.

The trust aims to screen more than 80 per cent of patients who arrive in emergency and gastroenterology outpatients departments at City and Sandwell hospitals to identify those at serious risk of health problems due to alcohol consumption.

It hopes to cut the number who develop conditions like cirrhosis, stroke and hypertension by providing timely advice.

“We have recognised that a lot of people who attend the hospital are at risk from high alcohol consumption,” said consultant gastroenterologist Dr Matthew Lewis.

“We would like to identify patients who are drinking too much and give them some advice, as we believe that this might help to prevent them getting health problems in the future.”

The screening process has been developed with a range of other local organisations working to tackle substance misuse, and PCTs in Sandwell and Birmingham.  

Doctors and nurses will be trained on how to deliver advice by the charity Alcohol Concern.

“One in eight people who are drinking at high risk levels will reduce their alcohol consumption significantly as a result of simple advice,” said Dr Lewis.

“We are also looking for care pathways for the management of alcohol-related problems”.