Navigation

NICE publishes new quality standard on alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use

NICE has today (31 August) published a new quality standard for alcohol dependencei and harmful alcohol use in people aged 10 years and over for use in all NHS-funded settings.

NICE quality standards are clear, concise statements and measures that act as markers of high-quality, clinical and cost-effective patient care. They are developed from the best available evidence, usually NICE guidance or NHS Evidence-accredited sources. Quality standards apply nationally across England, and aim to define high-quality care for patients, carers and the public, health and social care professionals, commissioners and service providers.

The new quality standard on alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use adds to the bank of ten NICE standards already published.

Alcohol dependence affects about 4% of the population (around 1.1 million peopleii) in England aged between 16-65 years old. Over 24% of adults in the UK consume alcohol in a way that is potentially or actually harmful to their health or wellbeingiii. Alcohol misuse is also a growing problem in children and young people in England, with an estimated 13 children a day admitted to hospital as a result of drinking alcoholiv.

The quality standard on alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use has 13 statements designed to help improve care for people drinking harmfully or who are dependent on alcohol. These include offering people needing medically assisted alcohol withdrawal, treatment within the setting most appropriate to them. These may include an inpatient, residential, or community based setting. It also states that families and carers of people who misuse alcohol have their own needs identified, including those associated with risk of harm, and are offered information and support. In addition the standard states that people receiving specialist treatment for alcohol misuse have regular treatment outcome reviews, which are used to plan subsequent care.

Christine Carson, Programme Director, Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE said: "The new quality standard on alcohol dependence adds to the library of standards already published. It will help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care services to deliver the best possible, high-quality care to patients. This is at the heart of what the NHS is all about, and I am sure it will be welcomed by patients and healthcare professionals alike."

Don Shenker, Chief Executive, Alcohol Concern said: "This new quality standard on alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use is welcomed by Alcohol Concern and we are very pleased to have been part of its development. Alcohol misuse is a very real concern in the UK in both adults and a small number of children, so it is imperative that there are standards in place to help both healthcare professionals in the treatment they provide, and patients to know what level of care to expect."

The new quality standard will be available on the NICE website from Wednesday 31 August at: http://www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/qualitystandards/qualitystandards.jsp

Ends

Notes to Editors

1. The quality standard on alcohol dependence is derived from:

  • Alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis, assessment and management of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence. NICE clinical guideline 115 (2011; NHS Evidence accredited). Available from www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG115
  • Alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis and clinical management of alcohol-related physical complications. NICE clinical guideline 100 (2010; NHS Evidence accredited). Available from www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG100
  • Alcohol-use disorders: preventing the development of hazardous and harmful drinking. NICE public health guidance 24 (2010; NHS Evidence accredited). Available from www.nice.org.uk/guidance/PH24

2. There is more information on NICE quality standards at: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qualitystandards/qualitystandards.jsp

3. Alcohol Concern is the national agency on alcohol misuse, campaigning for effective alcohol policy and improved services for people whose lives are affected by alcohol-related problems. For more information, please visit: http://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/

References

i. Alcohol dependence is characterised by craving, tolerance, and a pre-occupation with alcohol and continued drinking in spite of its harmful consequences, such as liver disease or depression. Alcohol dependence is also associated with increased criminal activity and domestic violence and an increased rate of significant mental and physical disorders.

ii. Drummond, D. C., Oyefeso, N., Phillips, T., et al. (2005) Alcohol Needs Assessment Research Project: The 2004 National Alcohol Needs Assessment for England. Department of Health, London.

iii. McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T., et al. (2009) Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: Results of a household survey NHS Information Centre for Health and Social care, Leeds

iv. Rogers, P. (2007) Rogers Review: National enforcement priorities for local authority regulatory services, London, The Stationery Office.

About NICE

1. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.

2. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

  • public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
  • health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
  • clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.

3. NICE produces standards for patient care:

  • quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
  • Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients.

4. NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice throughits implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.

This page was last updated: 31 August 2011

Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.

Selected, reliable information for health and social care in one place

Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.