Alcohol guidance issued by NICE

Alcohol guidance issued by NICE
Published on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:52
Posted by Scott Buckler

Tackling the harm caused by alcohol and addressing health inequalities are among topics covered in NICE's latest set of local government public health briefings

From April next year, councils in England will be taking on the new role of improving the public health of their communities.

To help councils with this task, NICE has been developing a range of local government public health briefings.

The briefings provide tailored guidance for councillors and local authority staff to help them provide effective, best value actions to improve the health of people in their area.

The three new briefings, published today, cover tackling the harm caused by alcohol; health inequalities and population health; and how NICE guidance can help local authorities meet the objectives set out in the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) for England.

Alcohol misuse continues to be a problem in the UK, with an estimated 1.5 million people showing signs of alcohol dependence.

Diseases related to alcohol account for 1 in 8 NHS bed days, and up to 35 per cent of all accident and emergency call outs are alcohol related. The total cost of this to the NHS is estimated at £2.7 billion per year.

The NICE public health briefing on tackling alcohol abuse recommends taking a two-pronged approach to this problem, with a combination of interventions aimed at the whole population and individuals.

Local authorities and partner organisations should ensure that children and young people are protected from alcohol advertising as much possible.

Furthermore, local data on health and crime should be used to map alcohol-related problems within an area before developing or reviewing a licensing policy.

This is to ensure a range of leisure and cultural-based activities are available rather than providing just alcohol-related entertainment.

Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE said: "We're pleased to publish the second batch of local government public health briefings which summarise our main guidance recommendations relating to the Public Health Outcomes Framework, as well as those related to tackling the harm caused by alcohol and health inequalities.

"This tailored information highlights why each topic is an important issue to tackle and how local communities will benefit as a result.

"For example, alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost England around £12.6 billion a year, of which £2.9 billion are healthcare costs."

He added: "Reducing alcohol-related harm, by encouraging a more sensible drinking culture, will improve health by reducing the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and stroke), cancer and liver disease.

"It will also reduce the number of low birthweight babies, and reduce the levels of violent crimes (including sexual violence) and domestic abuse."

NICE has a range of other public health briefing topics currently in development, which include behaviour change, health cost effectiveness and return on investment, and walking and cycling.

Source: ©NICE

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