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A&E visits soar with new drink laws

19th July 2007

Changes to the drinking laws in the UK may have led to a trebling of alcohol-related admissions to A&E departments at night in inner city areas.

A study carried out by researchers at St Thomas' Hospital in London looked at data for overnight visits before the introduction of 24-hour drinking laws in 2005 and the number of visits since.

Figures published by the Emergency Medical Journal revealed that in March 2005 there were 80 alcohol-related visits but by 2006, this had soared to 250.

While some critics point out that the details from one inner city hospital cannot be applied to the whole of the country, the researchers say their findings are representative of inner city areas in England and Wales.

They also suggest that the legislation had the opposite effect to which was intended, though is some areas NHS trusts say they have yet to see any adverse change and that other studies have suggested a fall in violence and people arriving at A&E with injuries.

The St Thomas’ researchers also took into account people arriving at A&E with health problems or self-inflicted injuries caused by excess drinking and said that overall that alcohol-related admissions trebled over that year.

In terms of total A&E visits, those that were considered to be alcohol-related rose from 3% in 2005 to 8% in 2006.

The Department of Health and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which was behind the legislation, have dismissed the findings and noted that the study related to one hospital in one particular month.


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Article Information

Title: A&E visits soar with new drink laws
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 3505
Date Added: 19th Jul 2007


BBC News

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