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Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what subsequent support is available to people who successfully complete NHS alcoholic treatment courses; (252858)

(2) how many people (a) have and (b) have not successfully completed NHS alcoholic treatment courses in (i) Ribble Valley and (ii) England in each of the last five years.

On 1 April 2008, a National Alcohol Treatment Monitoring System (NATMS) begun operation to collect and report local and national information on the provision of structured care-planned treatment for alcohol misuse in England. Prior to 1 April 2008 there was no routine collection of data on numbers receiving alcohol treatment in England.

The first year's data will be reported in October 2009 and will include data on the number of individuals who have completed their treatment; however, this is a new system and it may not be possible at this early stage to accurately report the number of successfully completed treatments.

Furthermore, the data are unlikely to represent a complete picture of alcohol misusers receiving treatment. They primarily represent contact with specialist alcohol treatment services, and are therefore unlikely to include a significant number of alcohol misusers who receive interventions in primary care and/or accident and emergency departments.

Limited NATMS data are reported on the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System website, at

www.ndtms.net/alcohol.aspx.

The currently available data, for those in structured care-planned treatment and for discharges, are given as follows for England and North West strategic health authority (SHA), which includes the constituency of Ribble Valley:

North West SHAEngland

Number in treatment

Discharges

Number in treatment

Discharges

2008

April

7,998

874

47,011

5,594

May

8,554

1,037

48,206

5,495

June

9,010

1,175

49,998

6,032

July

9,464

1,180

51,591

6,562

August

9,584

1,112

51,389

5,481

September

9,802

1,109

52,865

5,885

October

10,014

1,041

54,070

5,891

November

9,890

721

53,280

4,172

It is important to note that data for November 2008 are likely to be an under-representation due to the time it takes to verify the data; additionally, there is likely to be an overall under-representation as NATMS is not yet fully established.

We know that for some alcohol dependence can be a relapsing condition and that aftercare following the completion of treatment is needed to ensure that they maintain the benefits gained from their treatment and do not return to their previous higher-risk drinking habits.

To aid commissioners and providers in delivering effective interventions and treatment for adults affected by alcohol misuse, the Department and the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse jointly published, in June 2006, best practice guidance, “Models of care for alcohol misusers” (MoCAM). A copy has been placed in the Library.

MoCAM advises that commissioners take into account the role of aftercare in helping individuals maintain the gains they have made from alcohol treatment. Aftercare can involve:

psychosocial therapies;

support with housing, employment and family relationships;

structured activates, designed to monitor progress, build on successes, identify problems and ways to overcome them; and

mutual aid and self help groups.