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HEAT Target

Current Status

In the year ending March 2014 NHS Boards carried out 104,356 interventions, exceeding the Standard of 61,081.

HEAT Standard

NHS Boards and Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) will sustain and embed alcohol brief interventions (ABI) in the three priority settings (primary care, A&E, antenatal). In addition, they will continue to develop delivery of alcohol brief interventions in wider settings.

Alcohol brief interventions

Why is this HEAT Standard important?

This Standard helps tackle hazardous and harmful drinking, which contributes significantly to Scotland's morbidity, mortality and social harm. Latest data suggests that alcohol-related hospital admissions have quadrupled since the early 1980s and mortality has doubled. The cost of alcohol misuse to the Scottish economy is estimated at between £2.47 billion and £4.64 billion per annum (with a mid-point of £3.56 billion).

Brief interventions have been proven to be a highly effective and evidenced-based early intervention for those individuals (for those currently over the age of 16) who are drinking at hazardous and harmful levels to moderate their level of drinking and thereby reducing their risk of developing more serious alcohol-related problems. Brief interventions provide an important opportunity to highlight potentially harmful behaviours and provide individuals with the tools to make informed choices about how they drink and reduce the risk to their health.

Given the momentum and national profile established in Scotland, we would expect high levels of ABI delivery to be maintained and should remain a core component of local strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm. The establishment of the ABI HEAT Standard accords with the long-held vision that ABIs should be embedded in routine practice and allows for diversification across a wider range of settings, in line with the ABI HEAT Standard guidance, to develop the evidence base.

How are we performing?

The number of alcohol brief interventions delivered during 2013/14 is shown in the table below.  For the ABI HEAT Standard in 2013/14, Boards and their ADP partners should maintain the same total level of target delivery of ABIs as under the HEAT H4 target for 2011-12 (i.e. 61,081 ABIs nationally).  It is expected that at least 90% of delivery (i.e. a minimum of 54,973 ABIs) will continue to be in the priority settings.

NHS Board Number of interventions delivered 2013/14 Standard 2013/14
NHS AYRSHIRE & ARRAN 7,200 4,076
NHS BORDERS 2,454 1,247
NHS FIFE 8,226 4,505
NHS FORTH VALLEY 12,603 3,676
NHS GRAMPIAN 7,301 6,054
NHS HIGHLAND 5,356 3,802
NHS LOTHIAN 23,735 9,939
NHS ORKNEY 308 206
NHS TAYSIDE 5,980 5,137
NHSSCOTLAND 104,356 61,081


Further Information

ABI HEAT standard guidance 2013-14

Alcohol Brief Intervention statistics

Alcohol brief Intervention Communications and Guidance

SIGN74 Guideline - The Management of Harmful Drinking

The Societal Cost of Alcohol Misuse in Scotland for 2007

Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action

Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol - A Framework for Action Progress Report

Scottish Government Alcohol resources webpage

Alcohol Statistics Scotland 2014

Scottish Health Survey 2012

Related National Outcomes

  • We live longer, healthier lives
  • We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others
  • We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk
  • Our children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed
  • Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local people's needs
  • We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society