Publication

Publication name: Assessing the availability of and need for specialist alcohol treatment services in Scotland
Date: 11 November 2014
Description: This research assessed the availability, demand and utilisation of specialist alcohol treatment services in Scotland following publication of Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action. The research also examined the feasibility of assessing the capacity of specialist alcohol treatment services within a small number of case study areas.
The study found that 149 specialist alcohol treatment services delivered tier 3 and 4 interventions to almost 32,000 individuals across Scotland during 2012. More than 8 out of 10 specialist alcohol treatment services also delivered drug treatment services. Scottish Health Survey data showed that 3.1% of adults aged 16+ in Scotland were possibly alcohol dependent in 2012 which equated to almost 138,000 individuals. The Prevalence Service Utilisation Ration (PSUR) was estimated to be 1:4.3, in other words approximately 1 in 4 alcohol dependent adults accessed specialist alcohol treatment in 2012. It was not possible to compare the 2012 PSUR figure to a previous estimate in Scotland because of methodological differences between the two studies.
Interviews and focus groups revealed the positive impact of additional funding and resources that have been made available for treatment services. The most direct impact was evident in additional staff with some services reporting that this provided extra capacity which contributed to a reduction in caseloads, facilitated support to greater numbers of service users and increased frequency of contact with those in treatment. Service commissioners and staff also reported a more holistic assessment of support needs and more effective treatment with an increased understanding of the importance of recovery and preventative work and the Framework for Action was identified as a key driver of this change.
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