Modelling the impact of Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategies

Benefits of model

Using the model, NHS commissioners can implement strategies that will;

  • Reduce the need for Alcohol related inpatient admissions
  • Reduce the overall cost of Alcohol related harm to the NHS
  • Enable dialogue with the Criminal Justice system and other partners, facilitating joint approaches to reducing Alcohol related harm

Our report shows that:

  • After an initial rise in cost due to the need for additional investment, the net cost of new services reduces to a break-even point within 2 to 3 years
  • Beyond that time, costs continue to reduce on a recurring basis

Key features

With costs to the NHS approaching £2.7bn, the Department of Health wanted to encourage best practice in the reduction of Alcohol related harm. Although a number of research-based interventions were available, the specific impact on local populations was not always clear for commissioners of health services.

Our model connects the theory to the practice. It shows the net impact on hospital admissions and cost from implementing 3 initiatives:

  • Identification and Brief Advice
  • Alcohol Health Workers
  • Specialised Treatment

The model simulates the impact of developing each initiative, on its own or in combination with others. It also provides space for up to 5 additional service initiatives that can be user-defined by local commissioners.


Our conclusion is that these changes are significant contenders for QIPP projects locally and a potential major contributor to NHS efficiency gains.

Why not use the model yourself, with your own data, to develop a local business case for change? You can get everything you need to download the model, guidance on operating it and inputting data, and how to interpret the findings here. The model is free to use.

As a footnote, the model won the Steer Davies Gleave prize in 2012, awarded by the UK System Dynamics Society for its relevance to a major social issue of our time.

Download and use our award winning model for free

Alcohol Harm Reduction Model

We are happy to provide you with free access to our model.

Alcohol Harm Reduction Full Report

Download a copy of our full report.