Hospital admissions for alcohol due to rise to 1.5m per year by 2015

Published on Monday, 14 February 2011 09:51
Posted by Scott Buckler

Rates of alcohol-related hospital admissions are due to rise to 1.5m per year by the end of this parliament if the Government does not invest in alcohol services, according to a report published today(Feb 14th)


Over a million hospital admissions per year are currently caused by excessive drinking, with the total cost to the NHS expected to rise to £3.7Bn if no further action is taken to arrest this increase. Hospital admissions for alcohol misuse stood at half a million in 2002 and have doubled, now costing the NHS £2.7Bn every year.

If the 100% rate of increase continues, it will waste billions of pounds to the NHS, according to a research report analysing NHS costs on alcohol launched in Parliament today, by the charity Alcohol Concern.

The campaign group has called for Government to invest in alcohol health workers in every hospital, A&E; unit and GP practice. This will save the NHS £3 for every £1 spent, according to the report, as well as reduce the current level of 15,000 alcohol-related deaths per year and 1.2m incidents of violent crime.

Alcohol is now the second biggest risk factor for cancer after smoking and is the biggest cause of liver disease, which is the fifth most common cause of death in England. Campaigners have called for Government to make tackling alcohol misuse a public health priority, claiming that recent action to reduce smoking and illegal drugs has left tackling the nation's alcohol problem far behind.

Don Shenker, CEO of Alcohol Concern said:

"Whereas successful action has been taken to reduce rates of smoking and illegal drugs, successive Governments have failed to act decisively in treating the country's drink problem. With the Prime Minister saying that NHS is becoming 'increasingly unaffordable', we can show how billions can be saved simply by introducing alcohol health workers in hospitals to help patients reduce their drinking."

"Government must make tackling alcohol misuse a priority for public health, leading to huge savings for the whole country.  We need to encourage those who drink too much to realise it and get the help they need. As problem drinking costs the country so dear, a modest investment in supporting problem drinkers will lead to a three-fold saving, surely a necessity in an economic downturn."

Source: ©Alcohol Concern

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