Pregnancy is a time of change for your patients. They are receiving a lot of new information and making significant changes to their habits.

Many of your patients may need support to not drink when they are planning a pregnancy, whilst pregnant and when they are breastfeeding.

The Get Healthy Alcohol Program provides evidence based health coaching and education to support women to not drink alcohol. Support is given for free, over the phone. You can refer your patients to the Get Healthy Service using the Health Professional referral form. Your details can be saved, making future referrals quicker and easier.  Free resources are also available on the website to share with your patients.

The modified Audit-C tool is used to assess pregnant women’s alcohol intake when they join the Get Healthy Service. Pregnant women who score 3 or more on this screening tool are recommended to enrol into the Alcohol Program to help them not drink alcohol.

Supporting your patients without judgement

97% of Australian women want to be asked about alcohol use during pregnancy. Women who find it a challenge to stop drinking during pregnancy, however, may feel shame about it or worry they will be judged.

By referring your patients to this program, they will get regular, non-judgmental support and practical tools to help them stop drinking.

“I felt truly listened to and understood.”

– Andrea, Northern Sydney LHD

On receiving the referral, the Get Healthy Service will call your patient within one week and book regular coaching calls at a time that works for them.

The service is available 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. The interpreter service is also available to support your patient during coaching calls and has been shown to be effective and acceptable for non-English speaking participants. An Aboriginal Liaison Officer and culturally adapted resources are available for Aboriginal participants.

Patients are initially offered 4 coaching calls but can re-enrol if they need ongoing support or if they would like to achieve other health goals, such as increasing regular activity or healthy eating.

Data is collected at commencement and graduation to track progress for you and your patient.

All patient information collected and the content of coaching calls comply with NSW Health privacy and confidentiality requirements.

With the patient’s consent, feedback with be provided to you on:

  • receipt of the referral
  • enrolment 
  • completion

Participants are matched with a university qualified health coach with specialised training in alcohol reduction. They provide non-judgmental health coaching, practical tools and information based on the latest evidence including:

  • developing a personal plan to reduce or not drink alcohol
  • providing feedback on alcohol use and health-related harms
  • setting achievable goals and overcoming barriers and set backs
  • identifying, managing or avoiding  high-risk drinking  situations
  • practical techniques for cutting down or stopping drinking
  • strategies to increase motivation to change drinking behaviour
  • tracking progress, being accountable and celebrating success

Effective and evidence based

The Get Healthy Service Alcohol program was reviewed and updated in 2020. It is based on the latest evidence on alcohol reduction and behaviour change. Developed in consultation with experts, clinicians, consumers and health coaches it aims to optimise clinical outcomes and the participant experience. The Cochrane systematic review  (2018) of similar interventions showed that after a year people had cut down their drinking by an average of two standard drinks a week. It is recommended that patients are routinely asked about their drinking behaviour because alcohol use can affect many health conditions.

The clinical risks associated with drinking during pregnancy are now clearly documented. It is particularly important for health professionals to ask their patients about their alcohol intake during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy may result in miscarriage or stillbirth and may adversely affect breast feeding, infant behaviour, development and may result in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

A referral to the Get Healthy Service will support your patients to reduce or not drink alcohol to support positive health outcomes.

Past program participants have told us that it was motivating knowing their health coach was going to call. It pushed them to achieve goals so they could show progress.

 “I'm reaching my targets by being held accountable.”

– Christine, Sydney 

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COVID-19 update: NSW Get Healthy Service is open Monday to Friday, 8am until 8pm.