Innovative alcohol project shortlisted for nursing ‘Oscar’ | News and Events

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Innovative alcohol project shortlisted for nursing ‘Oscar’

Local mental health trust, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW), is today celebrating the announcement of being shortlisted for a Nursing Times award in the HRH The Prince of Wales Award for Integrated Approaches to Care category, for its revolutionary alcohol detox project. 

The Rapid Access to Detoxification Acute Referral (RADAR) is based at the Trust’s Chapman-Barker Unit (CBU) in Prestwich and is the only unit in the country who accepts direct referrals from accident and emergency departments across the North West. They have created a specialist pathway for those individuals who frequently present to emergency departments with alcohol-related illness or injuries. Instead of being admitted to the general hospital, they are offered a bespoke, medically-managed five to seven-day detoxification via RADAR to the CBU and then a full package of aftercare and support, to help them remain addiction-free. By reaching people at that ‘treatable’ moment ensures they can access help straight away and has proven extremely successful – with 95% of people leaving the unit fully detoxed and 60% remaining abstinent or drinking in a controlled way, three months after admission. After RADAR, individuals have significantly fewer presentation, with 75% not attending hospital since their detox.

For the individual struggling with alcohol, the benefits of RADAR are limitless in terms of getting their lives back on track, but in financial terms, an independent evaluation from John Moores University has concluded that RADAR will save the NHS £1.3million over a 12-month period. Also, as the patient is removed from a general hospital bed to a specialist environment, the emergency beds are freed up for other patients – as one A&E consultant put it, “We see them as our beds where our patients will receive the right treatment at the right time.”

Part of the independent research involved researchers interviewing people following admission about their experiences. Here are a few quotes:

“I have enjoyed an excellent experience on the unit. The medical care has been better than I have experienced anywhere else and the culture amongst staff is one of care and compassion. I have been given every opportunity to plan my recovery and now it is up to me. I am extremely grateful.” (male patient)

“I have been treated with dignity and respect and upmost – as a human being. Not as a waste of space.” (male patient)

“The staff here are faultless. They helped me see how I can change my life. More than helpful and a credit to the NHS.” (male patient)

Gill Green, Director of Nursing and Operations for GMW said, “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award and it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of staff at the RADAR ward. The success of this project is so visible – both in terms to the individual who can finally see hope after struggling for so long and for local hospitals who have to deal with the challenges of alcohol-related admissions day after day. I am so proud and pleased that RADAR is getting the recognition it deserves.”

Dubbed the ‘Oscars of the nursing profession’, the Nursing Times awards celebrate the best in professional practice across all aspects of healthcare. RADAR’s nomination is only one of 124 to be shortlisted out of 823 entries. The awards ceremony will take place at Grosvenor House, London on 12 November 2015.


Notes to editors:

1. A RADAR pilot was set up in November 2012 and after 12 months, RADAR had received 339 admissions from 11 acute trusts, demonstrating the need to develop a pathway across Greater Manchester. In the first two years, 636 patients have been admitted to the unit.
2. 46% of those admitted were ‘frequent flyers’ (which means they had attended hospital three or more times in the preceding six months and were not in receipt of any mental health or substance misuse support.
3. 35% of A&E attendances during the day and 70% of night time presentations are alcohol-related. 1 in 8 hospital admissions are alcohol-related.
4. For the full Liverpool John Moores evaluation report, please visit
5. GMW provides district mental health services in Bolton, Salford and Trafford. Individually developed and recovery focused services are delivered through both inpatient and community-based means. The Trust also provides inpatient alcohol and drug recovery services in Prestwich as well as community services in Trafford, Salford, Cumbria, Wigan and Leigh and Central Lancashire. GMW provides secure services for adults across the wider North which include a range of care pathways. Specialist services for young people and adults are also provided, such as psychotherapy, prison in-reach, early intervention, an eating disorder service and more.

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