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Health / Improvement welcomed on health board’s alcohol interventions

THE NHS Shetland board has heard of “really positive” progress on the number of ‘alcohol brief interventions’ (ABI) being carried out locally.

In the last quarter of the 2022/23 financial year there were 130 of these interventions, compared to just 43 in the second quarter.

Whilst the figure for quarter four was below the target of 261, NHS Shetland chairman Gary Robinson told a meeting board on Tuesday there had been a “significant uptick” in numbers.

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”.

They follow on from alcohol screening questions asked of patients.

Robinson said “we need to ensure that those conversation are being had”, particularly after figures showed an increase in alcohol-specific deaths in Shetland.

NHS Shetland’s planning and performance officer Lucy Flaws said what was particularly positive was the increase in ABIs being recorded in primary care settings, which is a target area.

She added that “ABIs are really targeted to people who are hazardous drinkers” – people who may be drinking more than the recommended levels.

Flaws said people who are dependent on alcohol would have a different kind of intervention.

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