Revealed: The cost of drinking to the health service

Figures from Alcohol Concern show the cost of drinking to the NHS
Figures from Alcohol Concern show the cost of drinking to the NHS
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ALMOST one million hospital admissions in Yorkshire in a single year were related to alcohol costing the health service, new figures show.

Charity Alcohol Concern said almost 10 million hospital admissions were linked to drink nationally at a cost of £2.8 billion to the NHS.

Chief executive Jackie Ballard, said: “The NHS is now facing an intolerable strain from alcohol-related illnesses.”

It has published a new map showing the impact alcohol has in different parts of the country.

More than 2,000 deaths in Yorkshire were linked to alcohol between 2012 and 2013 with the health service with more than 950,000 people recorded as “high or increasing risk drinkers”.

Dr Carsten Grimm, clinical lead for the alcohol service in Kirklees, Yorkshire, said: “It is vital that people understand the full consequences of drinking at unsafe levels can have on their health. With almost 10 million alcohol-related hospital admissions, we can see just how serious an impact unsafe levels of alcohol consumption is having on our health system.

“Drinking alcohol above recommended levels can have a damaging impact upon almost every part of our body, and it is crucial that national and local organisations work together to address this harm.”

According to the charity’s Alcohol Harm Map, men aged between 55 and 75 were the most likely to be admitted to hospital due to alcohol misuse.

It revealed almost half of all head and neck cancer patient admissions were alcohol-related, costing the NHS £65.3 million.

Just over 13 per cent of all malignant tumours of breast cancer patients were also attributed to alcohol, at a cost of £27.1 million to the NHS, Alcohol Concern said.

High risk drinking is defined as people who drink more than six to eight units of alcohol a day, with one unit equating to less than a small glass of wine or a half pint of beer.

Rosanna O’Connor, director of the alcohol, drugs and tobacco division at Public Health England, said: “Alcohol harms are unacceptably high and much of this harm is preventable. Over 60 diseases or health conditions can be caused by drinking alcohol, and the cost of alcohol to society is around £21 billion. Nationally, alcohol harm is going in the wrong direction especially in deprived communities, and we all must put maximum effort, resources and ambition into reversing this.”