Work to treat and support people harmed by alcohol in Nottingham has been given a £540,000 boost from Public Health England.

More screening and prevention will be provided at the Emergency Department of the Queen’s Medical Centre, while more dedicated housing for people with complex needs, such as alcohol dependency, will be created by Framework.

It follows a successful joint bid for national funding coordinated by Nottingham City Council with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Framework. The bid focused on how partners can better work together as a system to identify, treat and support people harmed by alcohol.

Successfully securing the funding for capital building and development, the projects are broken down by:

£220,000 for Nottingham University Hospitals to:

  • Provide a mobile liver scanning device (fibroscanning) within the Emergency Department to provide the opportunity for those identified through routine alcohol screening to have a scan whilst in ED. This will encourage systematic routine screening and will also provide powerful motivation for patients to engage with treatment services
  • Build a ‘prevention hub’ to sit within the Emergency Department. This will be a physical space and will house staff working on prevention agendas (including the alcohol care team) and some related training functions
  • Develop ICT systems to ensure that patient data and information around alcohol is shared appropriately (for example between ED and primary care) and used to inform service development.

£320,000 to support Framework to:

  • Develop eight ‘Housing First’ units for people with complex needs (including alcohol dependency) who have struggled to both maintain housing and engage successfully with treatment. Intense support will be provided to those living in the self-contained units, with the aim of providing the stability required to eventually exit into independent living.

Cllr Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is an important announcement for Nottingham. The money will help to support new projects to help people who are harmed by alcohol.

“Our bid was framed around the alcohol plan that is being implemented across the integrated care system. The plan has a particular focus on identifying more people with a need for treatment and support and then providing that to reduce harm and improve outcomes.

“I feel that our bid was made more attractive as it clearly demonstrated a system approach to reducing harm that is based on strong partnership working.”

Dr Frank Coffey, Emergency Department Consultant and Head of Service at NUH, said: “We are really pleased to have been part of this successful bid to improve alcohol support services in Nottinghamshire. In the Emergency Department (ED), we see and treat the devastating consequences of alcohol dependence on a daily basis.

“More and more our focus will be on prevention, identifying people at risk and working closely with colleagues and services in the hospital and community. The creation of a Prevention Hub in ED, to include work on alcohol, will be a major boost to this agenda and help us to integrate all our health improvement and prevention projects.”

Framework Chief Executive Andrew Redfern said: “A significant number of people with alcohol dependency in Nottingham live chaotic lives, and struggle to keep their homes. In some cases, this results in homelessness and the need for suitable housing with wraparound support. It may be difficult for people who are experiencing these complex needs to thrive in traditional services.

“This initiative, build on the ‘Housing First’ model will enable us to offer tenancies in good quality accommodation with intensive person-centred support to reduce the alcohol related harm that these people are experiencing, and establish them in structured treatment programmes.”

Alcohol harm represents a huge public health burden in Nottingham, with more people having poor health conditions, road accidents and hospital admissions due to alcohol than the national average in England.

A recent report to the Nottingham City Health and Wellbeing Board shows:

  • More people are dependent on alcohol in Nottingham (2.2% compared to 1.4% in England)
  • More years of life are lost in Nottingham due to alcohol-related conditions (843 per 100,000 compared to 624 per 100,000 in England)
  • There are more alcohol-related road traffic accidents (51.6 per 1,000 compared to 26.5 per 1,000 in England)
  • More people are admitted to hospital for alcohol-related conditions in Nottingham (1,000 per 100,000 compared to 647 per 100,000 for England)

Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Justice at PHE, said: “Alcohol misuse causes significant harm to society and can tear people’s lives apart. The outstanding range of exciting and innovative local projects that we are funding will make a real difference to communities across the country, with an important focus on helping those that are most vulnerable in our society.

“We want to encourage more people, particularly parents and people sleeping rough, to access treatment by making facilities more suitable for their needs and removing the stigma around receiving treatment.”