• screening;
  • brief intervention;
  • alcohol guidance;
  • England


This paper describes the development of the first set of national guidance focused on the prevention of alcohol problems in England. These guidelines were produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) working with a multidisciplinary program development group of scientists, practitioners and lay members. In this work, screening and brief alcohol interventions represent a key element of a comprehensive public health strategy to prevent alcohol-related risk and harm across the population. The first controlled trials of brief alcohol intervention were published in the mid to late 1980's and there are now around 60 published trials in this field. After 25 years of accumulated evidence in this field, brief alcohol interventions have yet to make a significant impact on routine clinical practice. While it is imperative to have good science to make the case for brief intervention delivery, this work is in vain if practitioners are unwilling or unable to use these interventions with their patients. Evidence from the alcohol field and other clinical areas indicates that national prioritisation of brief alcohol intervention activity, by a body, such as NICE, is likely to be a key driver of implementation by practitioners. This paper summarises a suite of complementary system-level and practice recommendations, which were published by NICE in June 2010, and considers their likely impact on screening and brief alcohol in England.[Kaner E. NICE work if you can get it: Development of national guidance incorporating screening and brief intervention to prevent hazardous and harmful drinking in England. Drug Alcohol Rev 2010;29;589–595]