About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) presents the number of Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) delivered in Scotland in 2019/20. ABIs are short discussions which aim to help individuals reduce their drinking to within sensible guidelines.

Main points

ABIs delivered in 2019/20:

  • Whilst the number of ABIs delivered in recent years has fallen from a peak of 104,356 in 2013/14, there were 75,616 ABIs delivered in 2019/20, which is 23.8% more than the 61,081 ABIs to be delivered as set out in the Local Delivery Plan (LDP) standard.
  • Nine of the fourteen NHS Boards met or exceeded their LDP standard for delivery of all ABIs.
Image caption Map showing Alcohol Brief Interventions LDP standard, by NHS Board; 2019/20
A map showing which NHS Boards met their LDP standard for delivery of all ABIs. Nine out of fourteen NHS Boards met/exceeded their target. NHS Dumfries & Galloway, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, NHS SHetland, NHS Tayside and NHS Western Isles failed to meet their target.
  • Just over two thirds of ABIs (67.2%) were delivered in the designated priority settings of primary care (52.7%), Accident & Emergency departments (12.4%) and antenatal settings (2.2%). The remaining 32.8% were delivered in non-priority settings.
  • Overall, 50,833 ABIs were delivered in priority settings in 2019/20, which is 1,968 more ABIs than the number of priority settings ABIs associated with the standard (48,865). Six NHS Boards met or exceeded their LDP standard for ABIs delivered in priority settings.


In March 2009, the Scottish Government published Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action (external website), setting out the strategic approach to tackling alcohol misuse in Scotland. A key element of the strategy included the setting of targets for the delivery of ABIs. In November 2018, an updated framework was published, Alcohol Framework 2018: Preventing Harm (external website), which acknowledges and continues to commit to ABIs as an important tool for improving Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.

In 2008/09, the Scottish Government introduced a target setting minimum numbers of ABIs to be delivered by each NHS Board; this evolved into a Local Delivery Plan (LDP) standard in 2012/13. The LDP Standard for ABIs (external website) has two elements: it stipulates a minimum number of ABIs to be delivered in any setting (61,081), and specifies that a minimum of 80% (48,865) of these ABIs need to be delivered in ‘priority’ settings (Primary Care, Accident & Emergency and Antenatal settings).

Further information

PHS are one of the partners in the ScotPHO collaboration and we maintain the Alcohol section on the ScotPHO website. More information about alcohol misuse can be found on ScotPHO (external website).

The next release of this publication will be June 2021.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 07 October 2022
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