GHP August 2015

ghp August 2015 | 7 Alcohol Abuse in Wales Increasing Figures released by the Welsh government show that in the period 2013 to 2014 just under 13,500 of the 24,806 referrals to rehabilitation services were for alcohol abuse. Referrals for heroin and cannabis also increased, whereas there was a drop in the number of referrals for cocaine abuse had dropped. Wales already has plans in the pipeline to introduce a Public Health Bill setting minimum prices for alco- hol, with a draft version currently under consultation. The draft plan focuses on evidence from other coun- tries (including Switzerland, Sweden, and Alaska, USA) which demonstrates that an alcohol price increase leads to decreases in consumption and alcohol related mortality. In relation to Wales, a study by the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group showed benefits of introducing a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol, including: • MUP (minimum unit price) policies would be effec- tive in reducing consumption, alcohol-related harms including deaths, hospital admissions, crimes and workplace absences and associated costs; • MUP would have a small impact on ‘moderate drinkers’, with the most substantial effects being experienced by ‘high-risk drinkers’; • Introducing an MUP of 50p is estimated at being worth £882m to the Welsh economy in reduc- tions in illness, crime and workplace absence over 20 years. Dramatic rise in drink and substance abuse in Wales will help propel Government plans to introduce minimum pricing strategy. New Report Finds Rural Healthcare Needs Drastic Overhaul Healthcare for older people in rural parts of Scotland is ‘not fit for the future’ according to a new report by RCN Scotland. Going the Extra Mile, written in collaboration with Age Scotland, finds that funding and care structures, particularly in rural areas, are not improving fast enough to keep up with the aging population. • The report sets out seven goals to deliver- ing community care in remote and rural areas: Shifting resources to the community • Taking a whole-system approach to re- cruitment and retention • Developing and supporting the advanced nurse practitioner role • Ensuring nurses and other professionals are confident users of technology • Significantly improving broadband infra- structure to connect services with patients and support a mobile workforce • Bringing services and communities together to change attitudes and improve digital participation, particularly among older people • Supporting older people to live independ- ent and active lives Theresa Fyffe, RCN Scotland director, com- mented on the drastic changes that needed to be made to the services in the future. “Patients in remote and rural parts of Scotland already struggle to access services, and the geographical distribution of patients makes de- livering a flexible service closer to home much more difficult. “The future may therefore demand a more mobile and flexible nursing workforce along with technologically competent and confident staff and patients. “The ambition to deliver good quality, integrat- ed care and support in people’s homes and closer to their communities needs to apply to the whole of Scotland. We hope that this report will help inform decision makers in making this ambition a reality.”