Swanswell’s hospital service helps NHS save up to £574,520 a year

15 February 2011

Swanswell’s leading the way when it comes to reducing alcohol-related hospital admissions with a groundbreaking service that saves the NHS up to £574,520 per year.

At a time when there are concerns that the number of people admitted to hospital with alcohol-related issues could rise to 1.5million by 2015, costing the health service up to £3.7 billion annually if nothing is done (BBC News), the national charity is highlighting the success of its award-winning Hospital Liaison Service.         

Working in the heart of the community, Swanswell – a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - has integrated its alcohol treatment service in to Coventry’s University Hospital, working alongside and training ward staff to support people with alcohol misuse issues.      

The Hospital Liaison Service is unique because it takes support directly to patients who’ve been admitted to hospital and show signs of alcohol-related harm. By helping them to access treatment, the service reduces re-admissions and saves money for the NHS. 

Of those patients referred to the service, 82 per cent weren’t re-referred in to alcohol services after being supported by Swanswell.

With the cost per alcohol-related admission estimated at £1,540 - £2,120 (National Institute for Health and Excellence, 2010), the Hospital Liaison Service saves the public purse up to £574,520 per year.

John, a client whose life has been transformed with Swanswell’s help, said:  ‘I had a really bad drink problem. I used to drink night and day, almost from the moment I woke up.

‘Having Caroline [Swanswell’s hospital liaison worker] come to visit me in hospital was like someone putting my mind to rest by saying I shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help. That was the start of my road to recovery’.

Following treatment with Swanswell, John’s now holding down part-time work in a charity shop, has recently decorated his flat in Coventry and is considering training to become an alcohol worker with Swanswell.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell Chief Executive, said: ‘We know that around one in 16 hospital admissions are for alcohol-related causes, and as those cases are on the increase nationally, it costs the NHS billions of pounds a year to treat.

However, our Hospital Liaison Service has proven that taking support directly to patients when they’re in hospital dramatically reduces the chance of them being re-admitted for alcohol-related issues in the future.

The results speak for themselves, so we know this approach works to help people change and be happy.’

Swanswell’s Hospital Liaison Service is also due to start at Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust in Warwick shortly.

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