Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Department of Health written question – answered on 4th February 2015.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January 2015 to Question 221072, what recent assessment he has made of the ability of local authorities to reduce the alcohol dependent population and to help more people recover from alcohol problems.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Local authorities and their health and wellbeing board partners are responsible for commissioning services to meet the needs of their local populations.

Each year, every local authority carries out a joint strategic needs assessment to determine the needs of their local area. This provides the basis for planning a full range of alcohol services from early intervention and prevention, through to alcohol treatment services to meet the need in their areas. Local authorities commission alcohol treatment services using the ring-fenced public health grant, and any other funds that they have secured for this purpose.

Local authorities are assisted in this work by Public Health England (PHE) which provides a set of resources as well as bespoke support from PHE’s regional centre teams.

Numbers of people accessing alcohol treatment are increasing. The number of people starting alcohol treatment in 2013-14 was 80,929, up from 67,912 in 2008-09. Waiting times for alcohol treatment are improving too, and the latest figures (2013-14) show that 93% of people waited less than three weeks for their first intervention, up from 78% in 2008-09. These figures suggest access to alcohol treatment is improving.

The Department has commissioned the University of Sheffield, in partnership with Kings College London and the University of Manchester, to develop a model for estimating requirements for specialist alcohol treatment. The study is expected to report in late summer 2015.

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