The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust’s Alcohol Liaison Team
has been awarded funding from NHS England to develop an outreach team for those
people who need it most across Rotherham. The jobs, which include four outreach
support worker roles, are hoped to be filled in the New Year.
The new Community Outreach And Support Team (COAST) will be
led by the Trust’s Lead Alcohol Transformation Nurse, Amanda Marklew, and the
new programme will be aimed at those in the community who need some extra
Amanda is working across Rotherham and Barnsley NHS Trusts
to tackle alcohol problems in the region. She was approached to head up the
Barnsley service due to the success of the Rotherham model.
Amanda said: “I was asked to develop Barnsley’s acute
services based on Rotherham’s outcomes because we’ve got a nationally
“We had an external evaluation in 2015 and we were
recognised as a potential model of best practice. One of the things that sets
us apart is that we are one of the only services that delivers telephone
contact. As a standard we offer every patient that we see a telephone call
because they’ve just disclosed all this really sensitive information and shared
their life story, so they are more vulnerable and need more support.”
The Trust was one of four sites in England chosen to
develop an outreach service for patients with alcohol and mental health
Amanda said: “It’ll make so much difference to people’s lives,
it is just so amazing. Alcohol addiction affects families and communities. Part
of my mission is to change people’s attitudes and erase people’s beliefs and
stigmas because it stops people accessing treatment a lot of the time.
“People who have really complex problems don’t get enough
support so they are going to A&E all the time,” said Amanda. “And then they
are sent home and are back to where they came from.”
The service has seen a rise in the number of referrals for
alcohol over the past year.
“We were getting 135 referrals a months but it’s gone up to
250 during Covid,” said Amanda. “There are a few reasons for that, one is
because of Covid. We’ve seen a lot of new presentations, people that we’ve
never seen before and who are struggling, as well as the patients that are
known to us or patients that are what’s known as your hidden group of people.
They are ticking along safely in the community and have probably got neighbours
watching over them, but then once Covid hit nobody was seeing them so nobody
could monitor their health or get their drink for them, food and basic items.
Often they were housebound as well, which brought other problems, and of those
who did come into hospital, many of them died because they were so physically
The team is looking forward to embarking on the new
“It’s really exciting that we’re going to have that service
for people with alcohol and mental health issues,” said Amanda, “because it’s a
new initiative nationally and hopefully it will have an impact.”