Irish Medical News


ICGP alcohol project ends due to lack of funding


The former director of the ICGP’s “Helping Patients with Alcohol Problems” project, which ended last month, has criticised the “powers that be” for only paying “lip service” to alcohol-related issues. Mr Rolande Anderson, a Dublin-based alcohol and addiction counsellor, told IMN that it is a “huge disappointment” that the project, in existence for the last 11 years, officially ceased last month after its funding was cut two years ago.

Supported solely by the ICGP for the last two years, IMN understands that the College was unable to continue to operate the project due to the lack of funding. Mr Anderson praised the ICGP and said that the many project achievements, including highlighting the issue of alcohol problems, would not have been possible without the College’s constant support and dedication. “GPs and practice nurses are meeting people with alcohol problems on a daily basis,” he told IMN. “The project provided GPs with training and resources on how to best manage alcohol problems in general practice.”

Writing in the ICGP’s 2010 Annual Report, Mr Anderson stated: “It beggars belief that resources could not be allocated to this important topic even in such difficult financial times. “Indeed, I would argue strongly that alcohol an alcohol-related harm continue to be the greatest social problems facing our country and an increasing reality for the work of every GP.”

“Despite numerous reports that state the importance of primary care in the detection, screening, and treatment of patients with alcohol problems and the publicly endorsed importance of brief intervention training, as well as international evidence to support same, it appears that the ‘powers that be’ only pay lip service to these ideals. “We still hold to the hope that the results of the Alcohol Aware Practice Service Initiative, undertaken by the ICGP under my direction, will at some stage be noted properly and the lessons implemented.” Mr Anderson will remain spokesperson for the ICGP on alcohol issues and will take part in training sessions and courses.


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