Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London NW44BT
Led by: Rachel Herring and Betsy Thom, on behalf of DARC
There is good evidence for the effectiveness of alcohol IBA (Identification and Brief Advice) to address harmful drinking among patients in primary care and, to a lesser extent, in hospital settings. Delivery of IBA need not be limited to specialist alcohol workers and indeed, IBA has been, and commonly is, delivered by non-alcohol specialists. There is now a drive to expand delivery of IBA into other health and non-health settings (eg. probation, community pharmacies, housing) and to train a broad range of front-line staff to deliver IBA within these settings.
The Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (DARC) at Middlesex University has conducted two recent studies – one mixed methods study on training and delivering alcohol IBA in non-health settings and another qualitative feasibility study on delivering alcohol IBA in housing settings. Within these studies we have focused on three groups of professionals – housing staff, probation staff and social workers – all of whom have been identified as being potentially well placed to deliver alcohol IBA to their clients.
The research has identified challenges and barriers to delivering alcohol IBA, including the practicalities of delivering IBA in diverse non-clinical settings, professional lack of role adequacy and role legitimacy and the issues about client acceptability. The findings suggest that training staff on its own does not guarantee delivery of alcohol IBA and highlighted the importance of preparing the 'ground' before IBA is rolled out to ensure that organisational structures, managerial support, and staff awareness/understanding are in place prior to implementation.