Pharmacies in Wakefield offer new service to tackle excessive drinking

The project is being funded by Wakefield Council.
The project is being funded by Wakefield Council.

Local pharmacies will be offering a service to tackle excessive drinking and offer early intervention to people at risk of alcohol-related illnesses.

The innovative project, known as the Alcohol Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) service, is funded by Wakefield Council.

In the first scheme of its kind in the Wakefield district, pharmacy staff have been trained with the knowledge, skills and tools to speak to people who are drinking too much and might be at risk of damaging their health and, if necessary, direct them towards specialist treatment.

Local residents will also be able to visit a participating pharmacy and ask for advice or support. The overall aim of the pilot scheme is to improve access to alcohol advice and reduce alcohol-related deaths and illnesses.

Evidence has shown these services are effective. One in eight people, who receive tailored screening and brief advice, cut down their drinking.

Since 2010 there has been a steady rise in the district of alcohol-related hospital admissions and alcoholic liver disease. Outcomes are also worse with alcohol-related deaths currently higher than the national average.

In the district there are 59.1 per 100,000 deaths, compared to the national average in England of 46.1 per 100,000.

Coun Pat Garbutt, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: "For all of you who have manged to keep up Dry January well done. We need to continue our support to encourage you to drink responsibly.

"This exciting new project has proven to have results. Prevention is better than cure. If people are made aware of the risks of their drinking habits, and the harm it can do to them, we stand a better chance of getting them to make changes to their lifestyle and stop the irreparable damage that too much drinking can cause.

"We are looking forward to working with local chemists to raise awareness and help people become healthier."

Community pharmacies throughout the district are taking part in the pilot scheme. Local chemists are visited more than GP surgeries and are trusted as a source for health advice.

Ruth Buchan, Chief Executive Officer, Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire said:

"We are delighted to see this service commissioned in community pharmacies which aims to raise awareness of the risks of alcohol.

"Research shows that people feel at ease and are comfortable with confiding in pharmacists regarding their concerns about alcohol consumption, and are willing to ask for advice.

"Results from similar services in other areas have demonstrated very favourable results with people stating that they had cut back on the number of units they drank afterwards."

The following pharmacies will be providing the service:

Cohen's Chemist, 102 Barnsley Road, Wakefield

South Kirkby Pharmacy, Church View Health Centre, South Kirkby

Cohen's Chemist, 119 Carlton Street, Castleford

Lloyds Pharmacy, Sainsbury's Supermarket, Trinity Walk, Wakefield

Lloyds Pharmacy, 45-49 High Street, Wakefield

Lloyds Pharmacy, Carleton Glen, Pontefract

Lloyds Pharmacy, 10 Market Street, Hemsworth

Lloyds Pharmacy, 25 The Square, Castleford

Well Pharmacy, Buxton Place, Wakefield

Well Pharmacy, Dale Street, Ossett

Asda In Store Pharmacy, Asdale Road, Wakefield

Anyone who wishes to get support or information about alcohol related issues can call 0300 123 1912 or go to http://wellbeing.turning-point.co.uk/wakefield/