Using the quality standard

It is important that the quality standard is considered alongside current policy and guidance documents listed in the development sources section.

Commissioning support and information for patients

NICE has produced a support document to help commissioners and others consider the commissioning implications and potential resource impact of this quality standard. Information for patients using the quality standard is also available on the NICE website. A full commissioning guide on services for the identification and treatment of hazardous drinking, harmful drinking and alcohol dependence in children, young people and adults, that supports the local implementation of NICE guidance is also available.

It is also noted that service user preference and choice need to be taken into account, and practitioners should offer appropriate evidence-based interventions in their consultations with individuals. Reflecting this choice will be particularly important when measuring achievement against statements using the process measures. However, the quality standard uses the term 'receive' so as to facilitate measurability, audit and reporting.

Quality measures and national indicators

The quality measures accompanying the quality statements aim to improve the structure, process and outcomes of healthcare. They are not a new set of targets or mandatory indicators for performance management.

Expected levels of achievement for quality measures are not specified. Quality standards are intended to drive up the quality of care, and so aspirational achievement levels are likely to be 100% (or 0% if the quality statement states that something should not be done). However, it is recognised that this may not always be appropriate in practice taking account of patient safety, patient choice and clinical judgement and therefore desired levels of achievement should be defined locally.

We have indicated where national indicators currently exist and measure the quality statement. National indicators include those developed by the NHS Information Centre through their Indicators for Quality Improvement Programme. For statements where national quality indicators do not exist, the quality measures should form the basis for audit criteria developed and used locally to improve the quality of healthcare.

For further information, including guidance on using quality measures, please see What makes up a NICE quality standard.

Diversity, equality and language

During the development of this quality standard, equality issues were considered.

People with alcohol dependence, and harmful drinkers, should have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment, in partnership with health and social care professionals. Good communication between staff and people who misuse alcohol is essential. Treatment and care, and the information people are given about it, should be culturally appropriate. It should also be accessible to people with additional needs such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and to people who do not speak or read English. Harmful drinkers and people with alcohol dependence should have access to an interpreter or advocate if needed.