Access to specialist community alcohol treatment in England, and the relationship with alcohol-related hospital admissions: Qualitative study of service users, service providers and service commissioners

Emmert Roberts*, Miriam Hillyard, Matthew Hotopf, Stephen Parkin, Colin Drummond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BackgroundSince 2012 England has seen year-on-year reductions in people accessing specialist community alcohol treatment, and year-on-year increases in alcohol-related hospital admissions.AimsWe examined perceived barriers to accessing specialist treatment, and perceived reasons behind hospital admission increases.MethodWe conducted focus groups (n = 4) with service users and semi-structured interviews (n = 16) with service providers and service commissioners at four specialist community alcohol services in England, which experience either high or low rates of alcohol dependence prevalence and treatment access. Themes and subthemes were generated deductively drawing upon Rhodes' risk environment thesis. Data were organised using the framework approach.ResultsData reveal a treatment sector profoundly affected at all levels by changes implemented in the Health and Social Care Act (HSCA) 2012. Substantial barriers to access exist, even in services with high access rates. Concerns regarding funding cuts and recommissioning processes are at the forefront of providers' and commissioners' minds. The lack of cohesion between community and hospital alcohol services, where hospital services exist, has potentially created an environment enabling the reduced numbers of people accessing specialist treatment.ConclusionsOur study reveals a treatment sector struggling with a multitude of problems; these pervade despite enaction of the HSCA, and are present at the national, service provider and individual service level. Although we acknowledge the problems are varied and multifaceted, their existence is echoed by the united voices of service users, service providers and service commissioners.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere94
JournalBJPsych Open
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2020

Keywords

  • Alcohol disorders
  • hospitalisation
  • qualitative research
  • service provision
  • service users

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