The general objective of the present project is to build on the experience and products of PHEPA1 and promote the dissemination of best practice on early identification and brief interventions on alcohol problems within the general population.2. Strategic relevance and contribution to the Public health programme The project aims to support the European Commission and the European Member States in the implementation of effective policy to reduce the harm done by alcohol, in line with the Council Conclusions of 5 June 2001 on a Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm, reiterated by the Council Conclusions on alcohol and young people of 2 June 2004. There is considerable evidence for the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of early identification and brief intervention programmes to reduce the harm done by alcohol.
The project recognizes the considerable evidence for the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of early identification and brief intervention programmes in leading to health gain, and, if widely disseminated, to reducing the disability and ill health resulting from harmful alcohol use in Europe. The project builds on the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of different strategies in disseminating brief interventions and on the experience of PHEPA1, co-financed by the European Commission, which developed European recommendations, a European training programme and country wide dissemination strategies in 16 European countries. The project also builds on the experience of Phases III and IV of the World Health Organization’s project on early identification and brief interventions in primary care, which included participants from 12 European countries. The methodology adopted to promote the dissemination of best practice on early identification and brief interventions on alcohol problems within the general population builds on three main pillars: the creation of a European Platform, the assessment, documentation and sharing of existing experiences, strengths and limitations, and the country roll out of previously prepared European products. The associated partners include representatives from 25 European countries, from governmental and non-governmental bodies, Public Health institutes, professional and scientific organizations representing primary care providers and academic Institutes of general and family practice. Many of the partners were involved in both the PHEPA1 project and the Phases III and IV projects of the World Health Organization.
The two year project aims to: 1. Create a sustained European Platform of health professionals and policy makers with experience and responsibility for disseminating brief interventions widely within the generalpopulation. The Platform will have representation in all partner countries and will meet twice throughout the duration of the project, first in year one, and second in year two. The purpose of the Platform will be to share and document experience, and to identify strengths and weaknesses of the different country approaches to disseminating brief interventions. 2. Develop a model, an assessment tool and a registry to assess and document the current status of services for brief interventions in all partner countries from a health systems perspective. The model will be based on systematic reviews of the literature and will describe all the elements that are required for effective dissemination of brief interventions within a health care systems perspective including the domains of organization of health care, support for providing brief interventions, availability of brief interventions, provision of effective brief interventions by health care providers and uptake of effective brief interventions by the general population. The tool will be based on the final model and will document the current status of brief interventions in each of the partner countries, identifying strengths and limitations in the five health care system domains. The results of the assessment tool will be placed on an Internet site registry to allow sharing of experience form country to country on guidelines, training programmes, and the approaches adopted to ensure widespread uptake of brief interventions. 3. Create and promote the use of an Internet based resource centre for health professionals, policy makers and providers, on brief interventions providing information in the domains of effectiveness, cost effectiveness, policy, epidemiology and evaluation. The resource will be similar to the effective and well used resource for smoking cessation developed by the World Health Organization, www.treatobacco.net. 4. Based on the European training programme developed in the PHEPA1 project, to adapt and adopt the uptake of training in the Member States to upwardly harmonize the skills of European health professionals. Evidence has shown that trained health care providers, along with office based support are more likely to deliver early identification and brief intervention programmes for the general population. 5. Based on the European Recommendations developed in the PHEPA I project, to adapt and adopt the development and implementation of clinical guidelines in the Member States to upwardly harmonize the quality of brief interventions. To ensure uptake and ownership, it is necessary for country based professional associations to develop practice based guidelines relevant to their own country situation and needs of their own health care providers.