Hospitals in England have admitted more than one million people who presented conditions related to alcohol consumption. According to what the NHS says, the figure is double the estimate made just ten years ago.
Most of the admitted were men, at 63% of all cases – a 12% increase since 2009. The NHS Information Center reveals that most damage came from falls and other types of ‘easy’ accidents, but also from internal organ damage such as cirrhosis or even cancer. Some present themselves with heart illnesses and even mental health issues. This has also made the number of prescription to rise as well.
Between 2009 and 2010 there were a total of 1,057,000 admissions. Placing this number on top of the one registered for the year before, the figures show an increase of more than 100,000 cases. The situation is stark when the million admissions is compared to the number registered in 2002-2003 where there were only 510,800 cases registered.
Alcohol related illnesses and dependency make the NHS draw out more than £2.4 million in prescriptions. These costs also went up as well, to 1.4% since 2009 and 40% since 20002. The number of prescription items reached 160,181 – registered from all the NHS hospitals in England. It represents a 6% increase since 2009 and a 56% increase since 2002.
Don Shenker from Alcohol Concern, a charity which deals with alcohol dependence and statistics, said: “Alcohol is one of the biggest public health problems facing the country yet sadly this government is showing no commitment to dealing with the problem. Without minimum unit pricing, a radical overhaul of the Licensing Act and investment in alcohol treatment we predict there will be more than 1.5m admissions within four years. While the Department of Health invites the drinks industry to formulate alcohol policy, it is cutting its funding to organizations like Alcohol Concern. Local alcohol services are at the forefront of tackling misuse but they are being hit by a double whammy of NHS reform and reductions in local authority funding.”
Prof. Sir Ian Gilmore from the UK Alcohol Health Alliance expressed his concern to the BBC and said that doctors were aware of this continues rise in alcohol related admissions although alcohol consumption has been reduced all around the country. He believes that people who usually drink too much will still drink regardless of the effects.
Even the public health minister, Anne Milton, agrees that things need to be improvement in order to deal with this continually growing problem. The minister believes in a much “tougher licensing regime”. She said:
We will also be publishing a new alcohol strategy later this year.