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Alcohol squad target towns

9th June 2008

The Health Secretary Alan Johnson has said a "specialist squad" will be put in place by March 2009 to help 10 towns in England with the highest rates of alcohol-linked hospital admissions.

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The squad is known as the National Alcohol Support Team and was set up after statistics showed alcohol-related hospital admissions had "more than doubled" since 1995.

Civil servants will run the squads and act as advisers to primary care trusts to show them how to work on the alcohol issues in their areas.

The squads will make 10 visits up to April 2009, about 18 visits in 2009/10, and "at least 20" in 2010/11.

Money for the squads will be allocated from the £34 million which has been budgeted to help people in deprived locations.

The government will also allocate £30 million for "healthy towns" in England. Towns will be given the chance to apply for a maximum of £5 million to make improvements.

Data released in May revealed that if a person lived in south-west England they had more chance of living to 75 than in other parts of England and Wales.

North-west England showed the most admissions linked to alcohol - 170 per 100,000 - and that eastern England had the fewest, with 72 per 100,000.

Mr Johnson, said: "Inequalities in health go down to the root of where people are born and live, and it's time we set that right."

"We need to recognise and accept that health inequalities are everyone's business - not just an issue for the NHS, but for government and society as a whole."

 

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