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Specialist nurses key to alcohol services

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Increasing alcohol specialist nurse services across England could help prevent hospital admissions resulting from alcohol misuse, an influential group of MPs has said.

The cross-party Health Select Committee published its report on the government's alcohol strategy last month and criticised government policy for focusing on public order issues rather than on health issues. It said that while more evidence was required to determine the most effective form of early intervention to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions, the 'establishment of alcohol specialist nurse services throughout the country' was one measure that could help.

The report referred to research by the British Society of Gastroenterology, which concluded that 'alcohol specialist nurses pay for themselves many times over, in terms of improved detection of alcohol misuse, accessibility, waiting times, DNA rates, reduced inpatient detoxifications and length of stay.'

RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: 'Frontline nurses are ideally placed to carry out early interventions and to educate patients about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.'

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