The number of people admitted to hospital because of alcohol in Yorkshire has risen by 20 per cent in six years, according to official figures described as “very worrying” by an alcohol charity.
In 2018/19, 128,000 people admitted to hospital in the region where the primary reason or a secondary diagnosis was linked to alcohol, 4 per cent more than the previous year and 20 per cent more than in 2012/13.
There was a mixed picture across Yorkshire, with Leeds hospitals seeing the lowest rise since 2012/13, at just 5 per cent, and York hospitals having 65 per cent more alcohol-related admissions during that time.
York has considerably higher rates of binge drinking than the national average and high levels of employment in the bar industry with 800 licenced premises, according to City of York Council’s alcohol strategy. In York, one in 10 people attending accident and emergency do so because of an alcohol-related injury.
While York saw the biggest rise, the city only accounted for 4,940 cases last year, compared with North Yorkshire, which had the highest alcohol-related admissions in the region at 14,910.
Nearly 200 people die in North Yorkshire every year as a result of alcohol, according to the council’s alcohol strategy.
After North Yorkshire, Leeds had the second-largest number of cases at 14,260, followed by Bradford with 13,870, a rise of 22 per cent in six years.
With a 6 per cent increase to 6,840 cases last year, Hull had the second-lowest rise.
Across the region, the number of men admitted because of alcohol was considerably higher than the number of women, with 64 per cent of admissions last year being men. This is the same proportion as six years ago, though the numbers of both men and women have risen.
On top of intoxication, conditions for hospital admission due to alcohol include cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, alcohol poisoning, and alcoholic liver disease.
Nuno Albuquerque, group treatment lead said: “The problem with alcohol in this country is a ticking time bomb about to explode. NHS hospitals in particular across Yorkshire are crippling under pressures directly attributable to the misuse of alcohol; a drug that is so socially accepted yet so incredibly dangerous.
“People here are seemingly struggling with their alcohol consumption; drinking so much alcohol that it is leading to hospitalisation and the diagnosis of further, debilitating conditions, yet the Government continues to have their heads buried in the sand.
“The question is, why do we still not have an alcohol-specific strategy, as promised back in 2018? It is a huge problem and one that needs immediately addressed as a matter of urgency.”
In May 2018, the Government said it was developing a new alcohol strategy, as an update from the one that was developed by the coalition government in 2012 but never put into place after being blocked in the House of Lords.
Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill, said: “We are determined to do more to support people who are most vulnerable or at risk from alcohol misuse which has a terrible impact on their lives and their families.
“As part of our NHS Long Term Plan, alcohol care teams will be introduced in hospitals with the highest number of alcohol-related admissions and we expect this to prevent 50,000 admissions from alcohol related harm over five years.”
Signs of a drinking problem, according to UKAT, include, regularly drinking in the daytime, drinking to feel better, drinking to “blackout” point, redness of the face, numbness or tingling in hands and feet and lack of or increased appetite.