NHS Shetland chairman Gary Robinson has reiterated his concern over anecdotal evidence suggesting more people in the isles have been drinking alcohol to dangerous levels during the pandemic.
He told a meeting of the health board on Tuesday that he was “really disappointed” to see figures for alcohol brief interventions (ABI), which remain well below target.
“I think this is something we really do need to focus on and get to grips with,” Robinson said.
Public health director Susan Webb said an improvement plan on alcohol brief interventions was being created, although the timescale for this has been disrupted due to Covid-19.
The number of screenings for ABIs remain high, but patients do not tend to meet the threshold for a full intervention.
A report to members said that this could mean that people are not drinking at harmful levels, or the screenings are being targeted at the wrong people.
Webb told Tuesday’s meeting that there are also instances of where people may not be revealing their true alcohol consumption.
She said the origins of the intervention scheme is in the primary care environment and there are hopes to extend this.
National charity Drink Aware describes a brief intervention as a “short, evidence-based, structured conversation about alcohol consumption” which “seeks to motivate and support the individual to consider a change in their drinking behaviour in order to reduce their risk of harm”.
The health board, meanwhile, also heard that the projected net revenue cost for its Covid-19 response – including social care expenditure – is £7.9 million.
The cost is being covered by the Scottish Government.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 490 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News