• Open Access

Effect of training on general practitioners' use of a brief intervention for excessive drinkers


School of Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052. Fax: (02) 9313 6185.


Objective: To determine among general practitioners (GPs) the effect of three different types of training on utilisation of a brief, controlled drinking intervention. Design: A non-randomised intervention study.

Setting, participants: 96 GPs (64%) within the South Eastern Sydney Division of General Practice participated; 35 chose workshop training, 39 one-to-one training and 22 received a special kit by mail.

Main outcome measures: Identification by GPs of excessive drinkers by practice audits; use of the program determined by the number of patients recruited in 3 months and by GPs' use of the intervention 6 months after training.

Results: 41 (43%) GPs conducted practice audits, identifying 15.1% of males and 6.6% of females as excessive drinkers (regular excessive weekly consumption and/or binge). 179 patients were recruited by 36 GPs over 3 months, and 32% of these patients reported a reduction of alcohol consumption. 63% who attended workshop training, 57% who received one-to-one training, and 36% who received the kit by mail reported they were current users of the program at 6 months. Significantly fewer GPs who received the kit by mail reported ever using the program (59%) compared to the other groups (p<0.01). Conclusion: This naturalistic study found that workshops and one-to-one training sessions in doctors' surgeries achieved greater uptake of a brief intervention for problem drinkers than distribution of a special kit by mail.