THOUSANDS of patients have benefited from an alcohol screening programme at Poole Hospital.

More than 20,000 people have been screened as part of the hospital-wide ‘stop and screen’ initiative with thousands being put forward for advice and support.

Widely recognised for the innovative way it has dramatically reduced the number of days patients spend in hospital due to alcohol, bespoke treatment is provided for patients who are resistant to attending traditional addiction services. Overall, the team, who receive up to 20 referrals a day, are improving the health and wellbeing of patients as well as reducing the demand on the hospital.

Steve Carroll, who accessed the alcohol care and treatment service (ACTS) for support to stop using alcohol, said: “Other treatment services were available but they just weren’t right for me.

"My treatment for a liver problem at Poole Hospital led to me to ask for their help to stop drinking and that was my very first step. My addiction was very bad. It was a nightmare. I wasn't a nice person. It was like living in a bubble and looking out. Life was happening around me and I just didn't want to waste my life anymore.

"This led to being introduced to the alcohol treatment service over two years ago.

“Since then it hasn’t been easy. I never forget the first time I sat down here. I just broke down. A lot of it had to come from me and by golly did it come out screaming. With hard work and support from the treatment team and my friends I have now turned my life around."

Today the 58-year-old is enjoying life and with money saved he would have spent on alcohol, has been on holiday.

He added: “I’m still sober and want to say to anyone in a similar situation - just take that step and don’t be frightened to ask for help, that what it’s there for. The world is my oyster now.

"I'm so thankful the team is here."

Graeme White, the head of addiction services at Poole Hospital, said: “We are excited to have reached 20,000 screenings in such a short period of time, and it’s great to hear from patients such as Steve the difference our help is making to their lives. Hopefully we’ve given patients like Steve the very best opportunity to lead a healthier and fulfilled life without alcohol.

“Overcoming an addiction to alcohol can be a long and difficult journey and sometimes you may think it is impossible to recover. Our aim is to get patients to move as quickly and safely as possible through treatment to recovery by encouraging them to make long-term changes to their lifestyle. Our advice is, please don’t wait until you hit rock bottom before you make a change.”

For more information on Poole Hospital’s alcohol care and treatment service search ‘detox’ on