Alcohol a huge burden for the NHS22nd June 2012
A new study has suggested that alcohol could be a factor in as many as 640,000 hospital admissions and two million visits to emergency care departments every year in England and Wales.
The study, published online in Emergency Medical Journal, focused on 774 patients who presented for emergency care at Bristol Royal Infirmary.
It found that more than 50% of those who had an alcohol-related injury were “hazardous drinkers.”
The independent researcher also questioned the participants on their average weekly alcohol consumption and whether they had been drinking on the day of their attendance at the A&E department.
It emerged that 19% had drunk between half a unit and 50 units of alcohol on the same day, rising to 48% on a Friday night and 39% on a Saturday night, with a mean of 10.6 units.
Of the 111 patients (14%) who thought their attendance was directly related to alcohol, a third were admitted and 87 presented with an injury – more than half of which had been inflicted by someone who had been drinking.
And 54% of those with an alcohol-related injury reported drinking more than the recommended weekly maximum, though 34% said they drank no alcohol on a weekly basis.
Doctors were also surveyed and said they believed alcohol was implicated in more than a fifth of all attendances – directly in 14%, and indirectly in a further 7%.
As the results were from an inner city hospital, the report author said the findings may not necessarily be applicable nationwide.
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