Drink responsibly on Mad Friday

Spectrum Community Health is urging the public to stay safe and drink responsibly ahead of “Mad Friday” on 23 December, one the busiest party nights of the year.

Traditionally the last Friday before Christmas, “Mad Friday” is a key part of the festive party season – but can be marred by heavy drinking. In early 2016, new alcohol guidelines issued by the Chief Medical Officer lowered the safe alcohol limit to 14 units per week for men and women and advised against drinking heavily in one session.

Jacqui Black, Clinical Operations Lead for Spectrum Community Health in Wakefield, said, “We know that people might be tempted to drink more during the Christmas period, but drinking heavily can put your health at risk and leave you vulnerable, particularly in unfamiliar surroundings. If you are celebrating on Friday, try to alternate between alcohol and soft drinks and appoint a ‘designated driver’ if you can, or make sure to book a taxi in advance. We hope that everyone enjoys a safe and enjoyable night.”

Higher levels of hospital admissions are also seen during “Mad Friday”. According to figures released by Public Health England, alcohol-related hospital admissions in Wakefield were almost 50% greater than the national average in 2015, with 885 admissions per 100,000 people compared to the average of 642[1]. Many admissions on “Mad Friday” are due to falls and injuries caused by excessive drinking.

Dr Sarah Robertshaw, Head of Emergency Medicine at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said, “The festive period, and in particular the Friday before Christmas, can see people drinking much more than usual. We don’t want to be killjoys and dampen the festive spirit but we do want people to remember their Christmas party for the right reason, and not because they ended the night in A&E. Alcohol-related injuries can stretch hard-pressed A&E departments to the limit.”

“We would also advise people to take care of their friends and family who may have had too much to drink: help them to get home safely and avoid injuring themselves.”

Spectrum Community Health works with Turning Point UK to provide substance misuse recovery as part of the Inspiring Recovery service, with clinics in Wakefield, Castleford and South Kirkby. The service can provide support and information on alcohol, including advice on how to cut down gradually and make small changes to your lifestyle. For more details, please contact 0300 123 1912.




Government launches new campaign to tackle drink-driving

The Government has launched a new December campaign aimed at reducing instances of drink-driving in Britain.

The Think! Campaign will post a new advert on Twitter or Facebook every day throughout December, based around the concept of “Fear of Missing Out”. The adverts aim to make it clear to young men that they have plenty to live for the following day, which they may not see if they choose to have a second drink.

A new survey commissioned by the Department of Transport found that 20% of young men said they would still drive after two drinks – even though having a second drink can double the chance of a collision. A further 11% said they felt drinking would not affect their driving.

Drink-driving incidents are more frequent during the Christmas period than at any other time of year – and two-thirds of all adults involved are young men between the ages of 17 and 34.

Find out more about the government campaign:

Care Quality Commission publish report on healthcare services at HMP Full Sutton

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a new report of Spectrum’s healthcare services at HMP Full Sutton, a high-security male prison near York.

Published on 14 December, the report found that all service improvements identified for Spectrum Community Health in May 2016 had been made.

Spectrum would like to thank the CQC inspectors for continuing to encourage the development and improvement of our services within HMP Full Sutton, as well as the healthcare staff who have shown dedication and commitment to maintaining a safe, effective service for patients in a challenging environment.

To read the full report, please visit the CQC website.

Spectrum’s Fiona is “Doctor of the Year” at the Yorkshire Evening Post Awards

Fantastic news at the Yorkshire Evening Post Best of Health Awards, where three of Spectrum’s services/staff were finalists in these regional celebrations, hosted in Leeds on Monday 5th December.

Dr. Fiona Schneider, Clinical Lead at Wakefield Sexual Health Service, won the coveted title of Doctor of the Year!

This is an amazing accolade for Spectrum’s sexual health service in Wakefield, which has undergone many changes in the past year and where clinical leadership has remained strong and focused.

Well done also to the Wakefield Alcohol Liaison Service team and the North Yorkshire Horizons team, who were finalists as Teams of the Year!

Public Health England publishes alcohol evidence review

Public Health England (PHE) has today (2 December) published a comprehensive review of the evidence on alcohol harm and its impact in England. It examines alcohol’s health, social and economic impact, and the effectiveness of actions in reducing its harms. The review is also being published in The Lancet today.

Alcohol is now more affordable and people are drinking more than they did in the past. Between 1980 and 2008, there was a 42% increase in the sale of alcohol. Despite recent declines in sales, as a nation we are still drinking too much, with over 1 million hospital admissions relating to alcohol annually.

The economic burden of health, social and economic alcohol-related harm is substantial, with estimates placing the annual cost to be between 1.3% and 2.7% of annual GDP. Alcohol related deaths affect predominantly young and middle aged people; as a result alcohol is a leading cause of years of working life lost in England.

The review provides national and local policy makers with the latest evidence to identify those policies which will best prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. It details policies that impact directly on the environment in which alcohol is sold and marketed, including its price, availability and advertising along with policies directed at people most at risk.

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, said:

“The harm alcohol causes is much wider than just on the individual drinker. Excessive alcohol consumption can harm children, wreck families, impact on workplace colleagues and can be a burden and drain on the NHS and economy. It hits poor communities the hardest.

“As a nation we are drinking more alcohol than we did in the past and there are more than one million alcohol-related hospital admissions a year, half of which occur among the most deprived groups.

“This evidence review will help local and national government and public services like the police and NHS to develop policies designed to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol.”

Since 2008, there has been a drop in total alcohol consumption but there has not been a corresponding drop in the level of related harms. The evidence review makes clear that alcohol-harm disproportionately affects the poorest communities, even though on average they drink no more than more affluent groups.

Other findings from the review include:

  • most adults in England drink alcohol – more than 10 million people are drinking at levels that increase the risk of harming their health
  • 5% of the heaviest drinkers account for one third of all alcohol consumed
  • alcohol is the leading cause of death among 15 to 49 year olds and heavy alcohol use has been identified as a cause of more than 200 health conditions
  • alcohol caused more years of life lost to the workforce than from the 10 most common cancers combined – in 2015 there were 167,000 years of working life lost
  • the evidence strongly supports a range of policies that are effective at reducing harm to public health while at the same time reducing health inequalities – reducing the affordability of alcohol is the cost effective way of reducing alcohol harm

The public health burden of alcohol and the effectivenessand cost-effectiveness of alcohol control policies: an evidence review.pdf

The public health burden of alcohol and the effectivenessand cost-effectiveness of alcohol control policies: annexes.pdf

Working years of life lost due to alcohol: ad hoc statistical release.pdf