Shadow health minister to meet Southampton alcohol experts

Shadow public health minister Diane Abbott will visit doctors and nurses in Southampton tomorrow (Friday, 27 April) to find out more about innovative projects to tackle alcohol abuse and liver disease.

The Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington will be introduced to University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust by liver specialist Dr Nick Sheron, addiction psychiatrist Dr Julia Sinclair and chairman John Trewby before meeting staff and patients on the medical wards.

They will be joined by Dr Kieran Moriarty, a consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Bolton Hospital and alcohol services lead for the British Society of Gastroenterology, who will be on hand to talk about the development of alcohol care teams within NHS trusts.

Ms Abbott will discuss national alcohol policy with Dr Sheron, a consultant hepatologist at Southampton General Hospital, senior lecturer at the University of Southampton and co-founder of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, following his prominent calls for price increases, reduced availability and prevention of marketing of alcohol to children and young people.

During her visit, she will also meet Debbie Duffy, clinical nurse specialist alcohol dependency, to look at her work with inpatients during their time in hospital, while Sandra Jerrim, alcohol project manager for the Southampton clinical commissioning group, will explain more about the city’s work with patients at home and in the community and a pilot scheme to offer personal health budgets for alcohol detoxification.

After leaving Southampton General, she will drop in on consultant nurse Pam Campbell at the Royal South Hants Hospital for an overview of Solent NHS Trust’s alcohol day detoxification service, which sees patients in need of weekly help with drinking problems given access to transport to and from clinics and night-sitters for those without carers or home help.

Ms Abbott said: “Alcohol abuse is a serious problem that needs big, radical action and I’m keen to see the work being done in Southampton. Evidence suggests that alcohol care teams in hospitals save a lot of money and reduce hospital admissions and I hope to learn more about how these vital services work throughout the visit."

Posted on Thursday 26 April 2012