Specialist Treatment

Improving the effectiveness and capicity of specialist treatment is one of the High Impact Changes for reducing alcohol related harm. "Dependent drinkers represent a very high-risk group for alcohol-related hospital admissions. Providing evidenced based, effective treatment as well as increasing treatment opportunities for dependent drinkers may offer the most immediate opportunity to reduce alcohol-related admissions. Reviewing care pathways, access times and blockages into treatment offer opportunities to improve the local treatment system." [Signs for Improvement - Interventions to reduce alcohol related harm, (opens new window) DH 2009]

Each community should have access to a comprehensive range of evidence-based interventions to address the community needs for alcohol interventions.

Models of care for alcohol misusers (MoCAM) describes a four tier system of stepped care for alcohol misusers (DH, 2006). Tiers 1 and 2 are concerned with providing Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) and referrals . Tiers 3 and 4 interventions are concerned with the provision of specialist treatment:

MoCAM Specialist Treatment Tiers 3 and 4

"Local Routes: Guidance for developing alcohol treatment pathways" (opens new window) [DH, 2009] provides good practice guidance on the development of integrated care pathways for people with alcohol problems - alcohol treatment pathways (ATPs). It is illustrated with a number of examples but is not intended to provide an exhaustive resource of off-the-shelf pathways.

Treatment Pathway Presentations:

There are many varied case studies of local inniatives from around the country. You can search for them on our projects search page using specialist treatment as a project type and project setting or just be using keywords.

Some case studies are listed here for ease of access:

NICE guidance recommends the expanded use of pharmacological interventions (such as acamprosate) to support treatment outcomes as they are currently under-used. However, there is evidence that patients find it hard to maintain these treatments over the period necessary to realise the most benefit.

An industry-devised patient support programme has been developed to help patients comply with their treatment.

For further details please see the leaflet below