Almost half of Irish GPs believe they are ineffective in helping problem drinkers.
A survey by the Irish College of General Practitioners found that while two-thirds of family doctors feel prepared to counsel patients about their drinking, many question the effectiveness of their intervention.
At the same time, the vast majority are positive about their ability to help reduce a patient’s consumption level if they are given adequate information and training.
A third of GPs also report not having any access to an addiction counsellor.
Almost 500 registered family doctors, who are members of the Irish College of General Practitioners, took part in the survey.
More than two in five GPs said they screen patients for alcohol misuse by using a common questionnaire. Two-thirds report they have managed patients for hazardous drinking and alcohol dependency in the previous 12 months. The overwhelming majority of GPs said they initiate conversations around alcohol consumption even when the patients do not.
When treating a patient who has an alcohol problem, a third of doctors recommend either total abstinence or cutting down. The remainder said they do not have a pre-determined approach, but adapt their advice to suit the patient.
Source: Elaine Loughlin, The Irish Examiner, 08/01/19