Alcohol care teams: where are we now?
Alcohol consumption affects the risks of approximately 230 three-digit disease and injury codes in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems-10th Revision. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals comprise 17 challenging goals with 169 targets, which the 193 Member States aim to achieve by 2030. Action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, especially addressing global health inequalities, will contribute to achieving many of the health-related goals and targets. Alcohol care teams, mainly developed in acute UK hospitals, reduce acute hospital admissions, readmissions and mortality, improve the quality and efficiency of alcohol care, and have 11 key evidence-based, cost-effective and aspirational components. A clinician-led, multidisciplinary team, with integrated alcohol treatment pathways across primary, secondary and community care, coordinated alcohol policies for emergency departments and acute medical units, a 7-day alcohol specialist nurse service, addiction and liaison psychiatry services, an alcohol assertive outreach team, and consultant hepatologists and gastroenterologists with liver disease expertise facilitate collaborative, multidisciplinary, person-centred care. Quality metrics, national indicators, audit, workforce planning, training and accreditation support research and education of the public and healthcare professionals. Hospitals should collaborate with local authorities, public health, clinical commissioning groups, patients and key stakeholders to develop and disseminate cost-effective prevention and treatment strategies. Globally, alcohol care teams can support the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and should be advocated and implemented through the WHO global alcohol strategy. This requires collaborative care planning by key stakeholders, a skilled workforce, targeted financial resources and dedicated political commitment.