A national survey of assertive outreach treatment services for people who attend emergency departments due to alcohol related problems in England

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019


The aim was to classify and characterise alcohol assertive outreach treatment (AAOT) services in England according to their concordance with six core assertive outreach treatment (AOT) components.


A cross-sectional national survey using structured telephone interviews with health professionals based in emergency departments in England. Six essential AOT components were used for classification. High-level AAOT services were those that delivered five or more components; mid-level AAOT services delivered three to four components; and low-level AAOT services delivered two or less.


The analysis included 37 services that were classified according to their concordance with six AOT components. Six were identified as high-level AAOT services, thirteen as mid-level AAOT services and eighteen as low-level services. Extended support covering housing, mental and physical health over and above alcohol consumption was the most commonly delivered AOT component provided in all services but one. Having a multidisciplinary team was the least observed component delivered in 33% high-level AAOT services and in 15% mid-level AAOT services. None of the low-level AAOT services had a multidisciplinary team.


Access to AAOT services developed to support high cost and high needs patients within the community varies greatly nationally. Further research, service evaluation and AAOT implementation should focus on essential AOT components opposed to self-defined labels of AAOT.


Andreas Kimergård (1), Amy Wolstenholme (1), Ros Blackwood (1), Robert Patton (2), Jacklyn Dunne (1), Paolo Deluca (1), and Colin Drummond (1) 1 Addictions Department, National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, UK 2 School of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK



Conflicts of interest:

No conflict of interest


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Stephanie Fincham-Campbell