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Concern at alcohol misuse

14th February 2011

The charity Alcohol Concern has estimated that 1.5 million people could be admitted to hospital every year by 2015 because of alcohol abuse.

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The charity said this would cost the NHS £3.7 billion annually if no measures were taken to prevent the increase. It said it wanted alcohol specialists to be present at GP surgeries and hospitals.

Thousands of deaths occur in England every year because of alcohol abuse and many are caused by alcoholic liver disease.

Drinking alcohol is also linked with an elevated danger of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Alcohol Concern said that 1.1 million people were treated in hospital for alcohol abuse in 2009/10, an increase of more than 50% from the 500,000 admissions in 2002/03.

The charity has published a report which said specialist alcohol workers could have the health service £3 for every £1 they spend.

Don Shenker, chief executive at Alcohol Concern, said: "With the prime minister saying that NHS is becoming 'increasingly unaffordable', we can show how billions can be saved simply by introducing alcohol health workers in hospitals to help patients reduce their drinking."

"As problem drinking costs the country so dear, a modest investment in supporting problem drinkers will lead to a three-fold saving, surely a necessity in an economic downturn."

 

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