Julia Sinclair is Professor of Addiction Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton, and honorary consultant in alcohol liaison at University Hospital Southampton.
Her priority is to improve outcomes for patients with alcohol use disorders and co-morbid physical and mental health conditions by research, teaching, policy, and clinical practice.
Her clinical roles include developing an integrated alcohol strategy across local services and offering direct clinical care. Since April 2020, she has also been the National Specialty Advisor for Alcohol Dependence to NHS England.
Her primary research aim is to conduct clinically relevant research into the harms of alcohol use, specifically the impact on clinical outcomes in terms of prevention, engagement and response to treatment.
She currently co-leads the NIHR funded programme to build the evidence base for alcohol care teams (ProACTIVE). She also has a long track record of teaching and training health professionals and is currently leading the work to implement the change to the GMC curriculum that requires all trainee psychiatrist to demonstrate competence in the assessment and management of addictions.
Course and outcome of patients with Alcohol Use Disorders following hospital attendance
Alcohol-related presentations to acute hospitals in the UK are increasing but relatively little is known of the clinical characteristics or natural history of this patient group. A prospective observational cohort study of 141 patients seen by an Alcohol Care Team in an acute hospital found that for 60/141 (42.6%) the index hospital episode marked the first discussion of their alcohol use in a secondary care setting. 73% rated discussion of their alcohol use in hospital as ‘very positive’ or ‘positive’, but the lack of coordinated care with community services undermined efforts to sustain change. At six months 11 (7.8%) patients had died, but in those who survived and completed assessment (n=121), significant clinically meaningful improvements were seen across a range of outcomes, with 45.5% showing a favourable drinking outcome at six months. Patients with alcohol use disorders have high levels of morbidity and mortality, yet many made substantial changes following intervention in hospital for their alcohol use. How can we understand and optimise this ‘teachable moment’ for patients?