Skip to content


Volume 14 Supplement 1

Improving access to healthcare

  • Speaker presentation
  • Open Access

Access to healthcare services for people recovering from alcohol excess

BMC Nursing201514 (Suppl 1) :S6

  • Published:


  • Focus Group
  • Care Service
  • Social Environment
  • Service User
  • Healthcare Service


People recovering from alcohol excess can struggle to access healthcare services. Understandings of recovery need to be clarified in order to ensure services meet the needs of socially marginalised service users. In Scotland, alcohol excess is estimated to cost £3.6bn annually (Scottish Government 2015) [1]. Ensuring that service users can access appropriate services is a national priority.


To explore the lives and give voice to people marginalised by alcohol related harm. To understand their experiences, support needs and relationships with the community.


The qualitative participatory approach of Photovoice (Wang & Burris 1997) [2] was used to allow participants to use photography to tell their stories. The photos guided subsequent focus groups. Data were thematically analysed with input from participants. Findings were shared with policy-makers through exhibitions, events, conferences and writing.


Participants shared insights into the importance of belonging to the community, contributing and negotiating the challenges of life in recovery. The value of peer support in preference to traditional health and social care services was emphasised. The importance of designing responsive services which improve the accessibility of healthcare for marginalised groups was highlighted.


Understanding the lives of people in recovery helps shape services. Providing peer support services within therapeutic social environments may be preferred by service users, ensuring their needs are met and healthcare is more accessible. Alcohol addiction is a national priority in Scotland but is relevant throughout Europe. Ensuring that services are accessible to users requires detailed understanding of their lives.

Authors’ Affiliations

School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh, EH8 9JT, UK


  1. Scottish Government: 2015, Alcohol Facts []
  2. Wang C, Burris MA: Photovoice: Concept, Methodology, and Use for Participatory Needs Assessment. Health Education & Behaviour. 1997, 24 (3): 369-387.View ArticleGoogle Scholar


© Rhynas 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.