FASTer access to alcohol treatment study

Study Design:

Observational study

Disease Area:

Mental Health / Addictions


Police and Crime Commissioners

Chief Investigator:

Professor Tom Philips, ICAHR, Hull and York Medical School, University of Hull




Alcohol dependence is a treatable condition that affects communities and families and is linked to over 200 mental health and medical conditions, accidents and violent/non-violent injuries. Consequently, alcohol use disorders are commonly identified within emergency departments (ED) and subsequent hospital admissions. Access to alcohol treatment may also influence ED attendance.

This research will explore how the short alcohol screening tests can be used in the emergency department of Hull Royal Infirmary to accurately identify those in need of access to alcohol treatment. The results of the study will help improve pathways of care for the people of Hull and East Riding who experience alcohol dependence and reduce emergency admissions.

All adult (≥ 18years) ED attenders clinically cleared by ED Staff will be approached to participate in the study by trained researchers over each 24-hour period for two weeks.

Participants will be asked to complete the following questionnaires:

  • We will ask for information related to method and reason for attendance, demographic information (e.g. age, gender, etc.), and information on their use of hospital and social services over the last 12 months
  • We will ask questions to identify alcohol use disorders (AUD) (i.e. harmful drinking and alcohol dependence) using the validated the 10-item Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) and 4-item FAST questionnaires
  • Those who report consuming alcohol will be asked to complete the 8-item Home Drinking Assessment Scale (HDAS)

Those presenting following violent incidents/assaults will be asked about the place, time of the incident and nature/severity of injuries.

Consent to access their ED patient record for their related attendance will be requested in order to obtain the ED clinician’s diagnosis and discharge code. Statistical analysis will assess the accuracy of the FAST and AUDIT-C in identifying AUD amongst adult emergency department attendees. Those ED attendees with an AUD and presenting following violent incidents/assaults will be characterised. Those identified as being alcohol dependent will be advised to access their local specialist service. All participants will receive a voucher thanking them for their participation in the study.

What will we achieve?

The results of the study will inform the development of care pathways for people who experience alcohol dependence across Hull & East Riding who are admitted to hospital or require direct access to specialist community treatment. Data relating to violent incidents and assaults will inform policing and licensing strategies in the locality.

Trial progress

In set-up


Hull Health Trials Unit
3rd Floor AMB
University of Hull