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Year of Publication
1.  The Effectiveness of Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in Emergency Departments: A Multicentre Pragmatic Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99463.
Background
Alcohol misuse is common in people attending emergency departments (EDs) and there is some evidence of efficacy of alcohol screening and brief interventions (SBI). This study investigated the effectiveness of SBI approaches of different intensities delivered by ED staff in nine typical EDs in England: the SIPS ED trial.
Methods and Findings
Pragmatic multicentre cluster randomized controlled trial of SBI for hazardous and harmful drinkers presenting to ED. Nine EDs were randomized to three conditions: a patient information leaflet (PIL), 5 minutes of brief advice (BA), and referral to an alcohol health worker who provided 20 minutes of brief lifestyle counseling (BLC). The primary outcome measure was the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) status at 6 months. Of 5899 patients aged 18 or more presenting to EDs, 3737 (63·3%) were eligible to participate and 1497 (40·1%) screened positive for hazardous or harmful drinking, of whom 1204 (80·4%) gave consent to participate in the trial. Follow up rates were 72% (n = 863) at six, and 67% (n = 810) at 12 months. There was no evidence of any differences between intervention conditions for AUDIT status or any other outcome measures at months 6 or 12 in an intention to treat analysis. At month 6, compared to the PIL group, the odds ratio of being AUDIT negative for brief advice was 1·103 (95% CI 0·328 to 3·715). The odds ratio comparing BLC to PIL was 1·247 (95% CI 0·315 to 4·939). A per protocol analysis confirmed these findings.
Conclusions
SBI is difficult to implement in typical EDs. The results do not support widespread implementation of alcohol SBI in ED beyond screening followed by simple clinical feedback and alcohol information, which is likely to be easier and less expensive to implement than more complex interventions.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN 93681536
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099463
PMCID: PMC4070907  PMID: 24963731
2.  Intervention to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and improve comorbidity outcomes in hypertensive or depressed primary care patients: two parallel cluster randomized feasibility trials 
Trials  2014;15:235.
Background
Many primary care patients with raised blood pressure or depression drink potentially hazardous levels of alcohol. Brief interventions (BI) to reduce alcohol consumption may improve comorbid conditions and reduce the risk of future alcohol problems. However, research has not established their effectiveness in this patient population. This study aimed to establish the feasibility of definitive trials of BI to reduce excessive drinking in primary care patients with hypertension or mild to moderate depression.
Methods
Thirteen general practices in North East England were randomized to the intervention or control arm of one of two parallel pilot trials. Adult patients drinking excessively and diagnosed with hypertension or mild-to-moderate depression received the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) by postal survey. Consenting respondents scoring more than 7 on AUDIT (score range 0 to 40) received brief alcohol consumption advice plus an information leaflet (intervention) or an information leaflet alone (control) with follow-up at six months. Measurements included the numbers of patients eligible, recruited, and retained, and the AUDIT score and systolic/diastolic blood pressure of each patient or the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) score. Acceptability was assessed via practitioner feedback and patient willingness to be screened, recruited, and retained at follow-up.
Results
In the hypertension trial, 1709 of 33,813 adult patients (5.1%) were eligible and were surveyed. Among the eligible patients, 468 (27.4%) returned questionnaires; 166 (9.6% of those surveyed) screened positively on AUDIT and 83 (4.8% of those surveyed) were recruited (50.0% of positive screens). Sixty-seven cases (80.7% of recruited patients) completed follow-up at six months. In the depression trial, 1,044 of 73,146 adult patients (1.4%) were eligible and surveyed. Among these eligible patients, 215 (20.6%) responded; 104 (10.0% of those surveyed) screened positively on AUDIT and 29 (2.8% of those surveyed) were recruited (27.9% of positive screens). Nineteen cases (65.5% of recruited patients) completed follow-up at six months.
Conclusions
Recruitment and retention rates were higher in the hypertension trial than in the depression trial. A full brief intervention trial appears feasible for primary care patients with hypertension who drink excessively. High AUDIT scores in the depression trial suggest the importance of alcohol intervention in this group. However, future work may require alternative screening and measurement procedures.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN89156543; registered 21 October 2013.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-235
PMCID: PMC4076249  PMID: 24947447
Alcohol; Screening; Brief intervention; Comorbid; Hypertension; Depression; Primary care; Trial; Preventive; Feasibility
3.  Brief intervention to reduce risky drinking in pregnancy: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:174.
Background
Risky drinking in pregnancy by UK women is likely to result in many alcohol-exposed pregnancies. Studies from the USA suggest that brief intervention has promise for alcohol risk reduction in antenatal care. However, further research is needed to establish whether this evidence from the USA is applicable to the UK. This pilot study aims to investigate whether pregnant women can be recruited and retained in a randomized controlled trial of brief intervention aimed at reducing risky drinking in women receiving antenatal care.
Methods
The trial will rehearse the parallel-group, non-blinded design and procedures of a subsequent definitive trial. Over 8 months, women aged 18 years and over (target number 2,742) attending their booking appointment with a community midwife (n = 31) in north-east England will be screened for alcohol consumption using the consumption questions of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C). Those screening positive, without a history of substance use or alcohol dependence, with no pregnancy complication, and able to give informed consent, will be invited to participate in the trial (target number 120). Midwives will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio to deliver either treatment as usual (control) or structured brief advice and referral for a 20-minute motivational interviewing session with an alcohol health worker (intervention). As well as demographic and health information, baseline measures will include two 7-day time line follow-back questionnaires and the EuroQoL EQ-5D-3 L questionnaire. Measures will be repeated in telephone follow-ups in the third trimester and at 6 months post-partum, when a questionnaire on use of National Health Service and social care resources will also be completed. Information on pregnancy outcomes and stillbirths will be accessed from central health service records before the follow-ups. Primary outcomes will be rates of eligibility, recruitment, intervention delivery, and retention in the study population, to inform power calculations for a definitive trial. The health-economics component will establish how cost-effectiveness will be assessed, and examine which data on health service resource use should be collected in a main trial. Participants’ views on instruments and procedures will be sought to confirm their acceptability.
Discussion
The study will produce a full trial protocol with robust sample-size calculations to extend evidence on effectiveness of screening and brief intervention.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43218782
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-174
PMCID: PMC3543230  PMID: 23006975
Pregnancy; Alcohol; Screening; Brief intervention; Trial; Midwife; Motivational interviewing; Public health
4.  Brief intervention to prevent hazardous drinking in young people aged 14–15 in a high school setting (SIPS JR-HIGH): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:166.
Background
Whilst the overall proportion of young people drinking alcohol in the United Kingdom has decreased in recent years, those who do drink appear to drink a larger amount, and more frequently. Early and heavy drinking by younger adolescents is a significant public health problem linked to intellectual impairment, increased risk of injuries, mental health issues, unprotected or regretted sexual experience, violence, and sometimes accidental death, which leads to high social and economic costs. This feasibility pilot trial aims to explore the feasibility of delivering brief alcohol intervention in a school setting with adolescents aged 14 and 15 and to examine the acceptability of study measures to school staff, young people and parents.
Methods and design
Seven schools across one geographical area in the North East of England will be recruited. Schools will be randomly allocated to one of three conditions: provision of an advice leaflet (control condition, n = 2 schools); a 30-minute brief interactive session, which combines structured advice and motivational interviewing techniques delivered by the school learning mentor (level 1 condition, n = 2 schools); and a 60-minute session involving family members delivered by the school learning mentor (level 2 condition, n = 3 schools). Participants will be year 10 school pupils (aged 14 and 15) who screen positively on a single alcohol screening question and who consent to take part in the trial. Year 10 pupils in all seven schools will be followed up at 6 and 12 months. Secondary outcome measures include the ten-question Alcohol-Use Disorders Identification Test. The EQ-5D-Y and a modified short service use questionnaire will inform the health and social resource costs for any future economic evaluation.
Young people recruited into the trial will also complete a 28-day timeline follow back questionnaire at 12-month follow-up. A qualitative evaluation (with young people, school staff, learning mentors, and parents) will examine facilitators and barriers to the use of screening and brief intervention approaches in the school setting in this age group.
Trial registration
Trial reference number ISRCTN07073105
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-166
PMCID: PMC3707809  PMID: 22974108
Alcohol; Screening and brief intervention; Feasibility pilot trial; Motivational interviewing; Young people
7.  Which extended paramedic skills are making an impact in emergency care and can be related to the UK paramedic system? A systematic review of the literature 
Emergency Medicine Journal : EMJ  2013;31(7):594-603.
Background
Increasing demand on the UK emergency services is creating interest in reviewing the structure and content of ambulance services. Only 10% of emergency calls have been seen to be life-threatening and, thus, paramedics, as many patients’ first contact with the health service, have the potential to use their skills to reduce the demand on Emergency Departments. This systematic literature review aimed to identify evidence of paramedics trained with extra skills and the impact of this on patient care and interrelating services such as General Practices or Emergency Departments.
Methods
International literature from Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), ProQuest, Scopus and grey literature from 1990 were included. Articles about any prehospital emergency care provider trained with extra skill(s) beyond their baseline competencies and evaluated in practice were included. Specific procedures for certain conditions and the extensively evaluated UK Emergency Care Practitioner role were excluded.
Results
8724 articles were identified, of which 19 met the inclusion criteria. 14 articles considered paramedic patient assessment and management skills, two articles considered paramedic safeguarding skills, two health education and learning sharing and one health information. There is valuable evidence for paramedic assessing and managing patients autonomously to reduce Emergency Department conveyance which is acceptable to patients and carers. Evidence for other paramedic skills is less robust, reflecting a difficulty with rigorous research in prehospital emergency care.
Conclusions
This review identifies many viable extra skills for paramedics but the evidence is not strong enough to guide policy. The findings should be used to guide future research, particularly into paramedic care for elderly people.
doi:10.1136/emermed-2012-202129
PMCID: PMC4078671  PMID: 23576227
emergency ambulance systems; prehospital care; training; extended roles; paramedics

Results 1-7 (7)