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Alcohol-related harm cases to reach one million

20 October 2009

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The strain upon GPs forced to treat health conditions resulting from alcohol misuse is set to increase in the next few years, with experts predicting cases could break the one million barrier.

In 2007/8 in England, there were 863,257 alcohol-related hospital admissions and that figure is rising each year, according to statistics from the North West Public Health Observatory (NWPH).

The number of people requiring medical attention went up by 8% in the same year, with an additional 176 people each day needing care.

Professor Mark Bellis, NWPH Director, said: “Without substantial change in drinking behaviours, the annual number of alcohol-related admissions to hospitals in England is on course to exceed one million per year in two years’ time.

“Such admissions are still only the tip of an iceberg with many people attending accident and emergency units, GPs and pharmacies in order to treat health conditions resulting from their alcohol use.”

Experts also believe that people living in poorer areas are the worst-affected by alcohol-related harm.

Dr Ruth Hussey, Regional Director of Public Health in the North West, added: “While there are no communities that escape from harms related to alcohol, the health of those living in the poorest areas is suffering most.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

North West Public Health Observatory