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Alcohol Assertive Outreach Team awarded BMJ prize for Mental Health Team of the Year


AOTT team

The British Medical Journal’s (BMJ) prize for Mental Health Team of the Year was awarded last week to the Alcohol Assertive Outreach team from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London.

The team were recognised for an innovative 'alcohol assertive outreach' service that improves outcomes for alcohol-dependent patients. 

Of the Alcohol Assertive Outreach team, the BMJ said, ‘The judges praised this patient-led initiative, which included service users to identify and understand patients’ priorities and needs. The team showed clear benefit to patients and a strong economic case, including plans to scale up the model. The judges also admired the engagement with other social and healthcare teams, particularly given the multiple and complex health needs of this group’.

Working with patients from five south London trusts, the team provides regular proactive support to patients at home or in their neighbourhood, rather than asking them to come to a clinic or hospital. Guy's and St Thomas' Charity provided funding to set up the service and its impact is being evaluated by a team of IoPPN and CLAHRC researchers.

 An interim service evaluation of 100 patients showed that the 50 patients in the assertive outreach programme used three times fewer bed days than those receiving usual care. Compared with the six months before treatment, the mean number of bed days reduced from 10 to 5.2 (a reduction of 48%) in the assertive outreach group whereas those receiving usual care showed an increase in bed days from 10 to 16.4 (an increase of 64%)

Professor Colin Drummond, Professor of Addiction Psychiatry at the IoPPN and team lead, said, ‘Providing more proactive care and support to this group of patients improves their health and wellbeing, releases significant cost savings for the NHS, and reduces pressure on A&E departments.’

The BMJ Awards, now in their 11th year, are the UK's leading medical awards. They recognise and celebrate the inspirational work of healthcare teams across the country. Over a 6-month period more than 350 teams submit entries which our distinguished judges whittle down to 60 shortlisted teams and 15 eventual winners who are all showcased in The BMJ.

To find out more about the Alcohol Assertive Outreach team, please see here.