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Nurse-led project tackles alcohol taboo

Initiative from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust’s alcohol care team aims to help patients recognise and change excessive drinking habits
Alcohol care team

Nurses are leading an initiative warning patients of the risks of drinking too much alcohol, in an effort to improve patient health and reduce hospital admissions.

The nurses, who are part of the alcohol care team at Londons Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, asked 90% of the patients staying on the acute admission ward for 3 days or more about their drinking habits.

The alcohol care team helps patients to recognise when they are drinking too much and supports them to reduce their alcohol intake.

In south London, 40% of visits to emergency departments are alcohol-related and this figure rises to 70% at weekends, according to the

Nurses are leading an initiative warning patients of the risks of drinking too much alcohol, in an effort to improve patient health and reduce hospital admissions.


 Guy’s and St Thomas’ alcohol care team lead nurse Shantelle Quashie, centre, and alcohol nurse specialists, from left,
Grace Benton, Katie Bray, Ifeoma Onuorah and Claire Twist. Picture: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

The nurses, who are part of the alcohol care team at London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, asked 90% of the patients staying on the acute admission ward for 3 days or more about their drinking habits.

The alcohol care team helps patients to recognise when they are drinking too much and supports them to reduce their alcohol intake.

In south London, 40% of visits to emergency departments are alcohol-related and this figure rises to 70% at weekends, according to the trust.

In 2014-15 there were more than one million hospital admissions in England due to an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition.

‘Taboo subject’

The team’s lead nurse Shantelle Quashie said: ‘People often say I'm the first person to ask them about their drinking.

‘For some, it has been a taboo subject among family and friends. Our team give advice so patients begin to modify their drinking before treatment starts.

 ‘People who drink over the recommended levels are at greater risk of various cancers and other conditions, including heart disease, stomach ulcers, impotence, infertility and anaemia.

‘They are also more likely to have depression, low energy and high blood pressure.

 ‘I tell patients that simple changes like reducing the number of nights on which they drink alcohol can reduce their risk of developing illnesses such as breast cancer, and generally improve their health and wellbeing.’

Alcohol Awareness Week is from 14-20 November.

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