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Alcohol screening and brief intervention

A message from Sue Paton, principal advisor addictions at the Health Promotion Agency:

You may have heard that the Government has allocated a $1m fund for PHOs to implement alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) in practices.

There is a range of additional support available to help you facilitate effective implementation of alcohol SBI in your practices.

Clinical support

Clinical advisor Dr John McMenamin is available to support DHBs/PHOs implement SBI in their practices. John has championed the ABC Alcohol approach to alcohol SBI in Whanganui Regional PHO (WRPHO) where the PHO has provided alcohol SBI to 70 per cent of their enrolled patients 15 years and older.  He is able to assist PHOs access information, advise on IT issues, help problem solve and share information and innovation among PHOs.  Contact John by calling 021 334 859 or email

RNZCGP online module

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) has developed a clinical effectiveness module called 'Implementing the ABC Alcohol Approach in Primary Care' as part of their Cornerstone annual clinical improvement activity programme. The clinical module toolkit will guide general practices through the necessary steps to establish the ABC alcohol approach within their general practice. This includes:

  • Understanding the issues

  • Professional competencies and training

  • Establishing practice systems to support the ABC alcohol approach

  • Identifying local resources, organisations, supports and practitioners for case referral

  • Selecting and implementing an IT tool

Completion of the RNZCGP clinical module ABC Alcohol toolkit will qualify participating general practices for Cornerstone practice accreditation points and participating general practitioners can also obtain individual recertification (CPD) points. 

Ministry of Health online module

The ABC Alcohol e-learning course sits on the Ministry of Health Learn Online website. This course earns CME credits and can be accessed free of charge by anyone in primary health to up-skill in the delivery of evidence-based alcohol SBI.   

The course is available at under 'New Courses'and the 'Featured Courses' sections under the category 'Alcohol'.  There is a support section which has contact information if you have any problems accessing the course. This e-learning module complements the Blueprint for Learning Train the Trainer module

Train the trainer

A one-day ABC Alcohol Train the Trainer training package is available from Blueprint for Learning. The training has been trialled in three PHOs (Whanaganui Regional, Manaia and Waitemata). It is for individuals in PHOs/practices who have a training role, or for those who will have (or want) a specialist alcohol focus. The cost of this training is $4,850 +GST (not including disbursements). To access it contact Sonja Goldsack, business innovation lead at Blueprint, by emailing

If you need any other support or advice, contact Sue Paton at HPA by emailing or call  04 917 9240.

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