A study published in Emergency Medical Journal has found that nine out of ten ERs are failing to identify young people with alcohol problems, preventing them from getting the vital help they need.
A survey of 147 ERs, conducted by researchers from the University of Surrey, found that young people are not routinely asked about their alcohol consumption, a useful tool in detecting alcohol problems. The research also found that those over the age of 65 are not routinely asked about their drinking either.
The survey found that over 85 per cent of A&E departments do not routinely ask young people about their alcohol consumption or use formal screening tools to identify those that may need help or advice about their drinking.
This is in violation of current guidelines, which suggest that screening followed by feedback of the results is the most effective way to reduce alcohol related harm.
Although young people are drinking less than previous generations, this age group still accounts for the largest number of alcohol-related A&E admissions.
Lead author of the report, Dr Robert Patton from the University of Surrey said: "Ending up in ER is often a wakeup call for people and forces them to assess their alcohol consumption. However this is not always the case and sometimes involvement from a health care professional is what is required to support people in reducing their alcohol consumption.
"The fact that young people and those over 65 are not routinely asked about their alcohol intake results in their problem being swept under the carpet which is dangerous. Alcohol can destroy lives and puts undue pressure on the NHS, so it is important that the support is in place to help those affected."
Sources: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/mediacentre/press/2017/accident-and-emergency-departments-need-do-more-identify-young-people-alcohol and News-Medical.Net