In the first of what will be regular reports on the pandemic impact on alcohol harm reduction, SHAAP suggests it is crucial to manage alcohol-related health issues to avoid additional stress on the NHS.
The increased risk of infection among heavy drinkers, the potential for isolated dependent drinkers to suffer withdrawal and for those in recovery to relapse would make diverting resources at this stage a mistake, says SHAAP.
In the report published on 31 March, the body states: “In a period when resources will be severely stretched, local prioritisation needs to be planned with careful and comprehensive assessment of risks.
“The co-morbidity of alcohol withdrawal and pneumonia can present a significant clinical challenge.
“Any reduction in alcohol services is likely to lead to greater alcohol-related morbidity and mortality in the medium to long-term.
“Alcohol liaison services in acute hospitals should be continued where this is possible as these can be very useful in facilitating early discharge of patients with alcohol-related problems and so improve bed availability in acute services.”
The board stressed the need for those undergoing detoxification to receive continued support to complete the therapy and that relapse prevention medication such as Antabuse were ‘crucial to recovery’ and prescribing services should be maintained.
About The Author
Chris Humphreys is the co-founder of The Alcohol-Free Shop and AlcoholFree.com. She was a journalist for more years than she cares to remember. Ex-wife of an alcoholic, enthusiastic amateur musician and a passionate dog lover.