Alliance Groups Collaborate To Reduce Youth Alcohol Harm

16 Mar 2015

Health experts from two South Island Alliance groups have come together on an important new project designed to support a long term reduction in the harm alcohol causes to young people living in the South Island.

The “Emergency Department (ED) Alcohol project,” which kicks off in March, will take a broad look at how each South Island ED is managing the presentation of young people with alcohol related issues, and provide clear recommendations to support better outcomes for young patients moving ahead.

The project is being directed by the South Island Alliance’s Child Health and Public Health work streams, which consist of child health and public health experts from Southern, Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough, South Canterbury and West Coast DHBs, who have come together for the first time on this project.  The Health Promotion Agency is providing funding and Emergency Medicine Specialist Dr Paul Quigley has been appointed to provide medical consultancy and complete his study of South Island EDs in a scoping report due by the end of June 2015.

In his report, Dr Quigley will provide a detailed view of the issues related to presentations by young people under the influence of alcohol to South Island EDs including:

  • Reviewing the capacity and capability of South Island EDs to engage and respond to young patients that present with alcohol related issues,
  • Identifying and recommending referral pathways and effective interventions available locally for patients identified with alcohol (and drug) issues
  • Scoping the range of issues associated with alcohol data collection for youth alcohol ED presentations
  • Recommending opportunities for improvements to patient outcomes, systems, professional development, screening practices, data collection, brief interventions and policies within each DHB to improve patient outcomes.

This project follows on from the 2012 signing of a unified position statement on alcohol by each of the five South Island DHBs, which committed them to reducing the alcohol-related harm experienced by people within their district.  In addition each DHB committed to identifying and recording alcohol-related presentations within their district in a consistent manner.  The project marks an important step in achieving those goals as Ed Kiddle, Chair of the Public Health Partnership explains, “the ED Alcohol project is a significant step for South Island DHBs in improving data collection on alcohol-related harm in order to advance prevention activities, as well as identifying the most appropriate referral pathways available.”

David Barker, Chair of the Child Health Service Level Alliance commented on the project: “One of our (Child Health Group) priorities is to support equitable and accessible programmes across the South which reduce youth risk taking resulting from alcohol and drug use. This project is important as we see the real potential it has for directly reducing the long term harm caused by alcohol consumption and how it could make a real difference for many young people and their families and whanau living in the South.” 


Photo Caption: From left to right: Clive Nelson,  Chief Executive, Health Promotion Agency, Ed Kiddle, Chair of Public Health Partnership Group, Dr Paul Quigley and Nicola Austin, Outgoing Chair of Child Health Group of the South Island Alliance.

For more information contact Anna Dorsey, South Island Alliance Communications Advisor on 0275884672 or email

Published on: Monday, March 16th, 2015, under Uncategorised