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Cymraeg

Cutting alcohol related injuries

21 December 2009

Professor Jonathan ShepherdProfessor Jonathan Shepherd

Leading University research helping to cut the growing tide of binge drinking and alcohol related injuries is set to be rolled out across NHS Wales.

Award winning research by Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Jonathan Shepherd, School of Dentistry, and his Violence Research Group has found that it is possible to detect alcohol misuse and treat it using motivational interviews (‘brief interventions’) when patients with injuries return to hospital – trauma and maxillofacial clinics, for standard injury care.

The project is the first Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) in the public sector.

KTP is a part-government funded Technology Strategy Board scheme designed to help businesses and other organisations such as the NHS by tapping into and utilising the knowledge and expertise that resides in universities.

Professor Shepherd, School of Dentistry, who will oversee the development of the initiative, said: "Excessive drinking is a major cause of illness, injury, and behavioural problems in Wales.

"The Chief Medical Officer for Wales’ latest annual report found that some 45,000 hospital admissions and 1,000 deaths every year in Wales are linked to alcohol misuse.

"One way to address this is through brief interventions. Hospital admission can be a sobering experience for people and evidence shows that people are more receptive to healthcare messages when they are delivered in a clinical setting."

"It is for this reason that this partnership, the first for Cardiff University’s School of Dentistry and the NHS, is the means of transferring our expert knowledge for the practical benefit of Welsh patients."

Patients who return to hospital for treatment after a drink related injury will receive advice from nurses in a bid to help them change their drinking habits.

Nurses at hospitals across Wales are being encouraged to sign up for the programme and receive training in delivering the intervention.

Dr Tony Jewell, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, said: "The Welsh Assembly Government’s substance misuse strategy has provided the impetus for the provision of training in how to identify high-risk individuals and how to give advice in primary care settings, A&E departments and other settings.

"In my recent letter to the service I highlighted the need to educate people about the health risks associated with exceeding safe drinking limits and make sure the health service takes this opportunity to engage fully in this training programme.

"Binge drinking culture is getting worse in Wales. Evidence-based interventions will help reduce the long term damage from excessive drinking and the increasing burden on the NHS."

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