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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
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Solihull mayor to launch new alcohol treatment service

May 16, 2011

Solihull Integrated Addictions Services (SIAS) will launch a new, comprehensive alcohol service, which will provide access to a team of specialists through a single point of contact.

The Alcohol Treatment Service will be launched by the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Ian Courts at Solihull Library and Arts Complex, Homer Road, Solihull on Friday, May 20 at 2pm.

SIAS is a successful partnership between Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust’s award-winning substance misuse service, based at The Bridge in Chelmsley Wood, with charities Welcome, Aquarius, Str8 Up and the government’s Drug Intervention Programme.

The new service will provide a single point of contact, for all GP enquiries and referrals, to a multi-disciplinary team including alcohol workers, doctors and nurses, as well as support workers to help drinkers with issues around benefits, employment and housing.

Service users may also be referred onto a specialist drug and alcohol liaison team, based at Solihull Hospital, a detoxification service, or a drop-in service at Aquarius’s base in Solihull.

Funded by Solihull Primary Care Trust, the alcohol treatment service will provide drinkers with a range of treatment options delivered closer to their homes, in community based settings, as well as support for their families and friends.

Dr Anand Chitnis, chairman of Solihull Health, said: “Drinking alcohol can be a pleasure for many, but for some it becomes an addiction that ruins their lives and their families.

“This new service is a demonstration of the wider focus the NHS is taking to nurture people back to health by helping them earlier, and with more effective interventions. Working in partnership with hospital staff and GPs, it will help people with a drinking problem to be identified earlier, help them access care and treatment that can improve their physical health and emotional wellbeing, and save families from the misery of alcoholism.”

Paul McTague, area manager for charity partner Aquarius, said: “Alcohol is riddled with ambiguity, on one hand it’s seen as a helpful social lubricant, while on the other it can be a contributor a spectrum of social ills. However, not all the problems associated with alcohol fit the picture of the ‘hopeless alcoholic’.

“This new alcohol treatment service, which is harnessing the expertise and resources of three agencies involved, will be available to all people in Solihull, and their families, who are experiencing problems or simply want some advice and information to help them renegotiate their relationship with alcohol.”

Those with serious drink-related difficulties will have rapid access to a variety of treatment services, including home detoxification which is known to be highly effective and offers patients treatments in the privacy of their own home.

Christopher Clarke, drug and alcohol treatment commissioner for Solihull, for Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, added: "We are delighted that the planning and preparation stage is complete and these new services are now available.

“We know that SIAS staff will be bringing skill, experience and commitment to their new roles and wish them every success in making a real difference in the lives of those individuals and families suffering from the problems of alcohol abuse in Solihull."

The launch event will take place at the Library Studio, in Solihull, between 2pm and 4pm.