To include some background on the level of alcohol related emergency admissions as requested by Scrutiny Board.
Jeremy Vanes, the Chair of Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) gave a verbal update relating to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department. He advised that there are more than average referrals in the drugs and alcohol referral scheme last year (648). Ros Jervis, Service Director Health and Well Being, explained that the Community Drugs and Alcohol Team have a good relationship with the clinicians and help people to seek support and that this can be a motivation to change due to the teachable moment (event). Panel were advised that there were also patients who do not want to change, revolving doors patients but that there seem to be reducing numbers of them and Panel were encouraged to hear that the mortality level was also falling.
Panel considered that there were several groups of people on the journey of dangerous drinking levels for a variety of reasons (including binge drinkers and young people). They recognised that prevention and early intervention work and that this was an uphill battle to reduce the impact of drinking. The Service Director advised that the business community in the City Centre now pay for the services.
In response to questions The Chief Executive RWT advised that the Police work hand in glove with RWT and multiagency services but that the RWT cannot breach Patient confidentiality. The Chair RWT responded to questions from Cllr Martin Waite relating to proportion of patients that attend on the weekends, the ageing population and Stafford ambulance crews bringing them into Wolverhampton during the night. The Chief Executive confirmed that patients under the influence of drink or drugs are in a separate section from other patients he advised that these issues were part of system reform. He acknowledged that as an employer of 9000 staff there was a need to help staff with specific alcohol problems.
In response to Cllr Patricia Patten’s questions about levels of teenage drinking the Service Director advised that the highest affected group was males aged 35-45 and that there were not large numbers of young drinkers. It was clarified that the highest number of chronic drinking and liver related illnesses tend to be in middle aged males.
Helen Hibbs, CCG highlighted the number of elderly and frail people admitted to hospitals and explained there are other ways of caring and that it was not all about going into hospital.
The Chair RWT gave an update relating to the Urgent Care Centre which had opened in April 2016. He advised that there had been several developments including the recruitment of nurses, who were waiting to start. He outlined the success of the joint triage and the benefits of having a senior Doctors diagnosis earlier in the process. He advised that admission rates were down 15% as a result of this. In terms of performance he advised that the A&E unit had recently demonstrated the 24th best performance in the Country.