Thomas Phillips

Professor Phillips qualified as a registered mental nurse in 1991, and has collaborated on a number of epidemiological studies and randomised controlled trials related to alcohol screening and brief interventions in emergency departments, primary care and criminal justice settings. Awarded an NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship, he obtained a Doctorate in Addiction Science at King’s College London, undertaking the epidemiological analysis of alcohol use disorders within emergency departments. Professor Phillips has extended this area of research to examine the impact of length of stay (LOS) on alcohol withdrawal hospital readmissions and emergency department attendances in England. Professor Phillips is an investigator on the NIHR-funded ADAM study and is Chief Investigator on the FASTer Access to Alcohol Treatment Study. He is a member of the UK Alcohol Clinical Guidelines Expert Group, Public Health England and has recently completed a study for NHS England & Improvement supporting the development of clinical competencies for hospital-based Alcohol Care Teams in England.

Developing clinically competent alcohol care teams

With over 1.1m alcohol-related hospital admissions each year this patient group places a disproportionate impact and cost on secondary healthcare systems, particularly those with comorbid physical and mental health disorders, and social problems. A recent study estimated 1 in 5 admitted patients drink at harmful levels, and 10% have alcohol dependence. Clinical care often requires the implementation of alcohol withdrawal programmes, parenteral vitamins and patient-centred care that aims to reassure and orientate the patient. The causal association between alcohol and a wide range of conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer and liver disease, as well as harm from accidents, violence and self-harm is challenging for a non-specialist workforce often ill equipped to address complex and coexisting presentations.

Following publication of The NHS Long-Term Plan, there is a need to increase the early identification and treatment of patients with alcohol use disorders in secondary care settings. This symposium will explore the unique needs patients in this setting, models of services and the clinical competencies required to equip multidisciplinary alcohol care teams (ACT).

Based on the emerging epidemiology, Professor Phillips will provide an overview of the clinical competencies required to care for patients admitted to secondary care settings with AUD. Informed by the analysis of routine hospital data, he will characterise the needs of patients and how the newly developed clinical competencies for ACTs address these.

Presentation slides: Developing clinically competent alcohol care teams