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Alcohol misuse concerns as numbers admitted to hospital increase

PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 February 2020

Alcohol related admissions to Suffolk's hospitals have increased Picture: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Alcohol related admissions to Suffolk's hospitals have increased Picture: PA Wire/Press Association Images

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The number of people being admitted to hospital for alcohol related conditions has increased by over 20% in the past six years.

NHS figures analysed by the UK Addiction Treatment Group, showed that in 2012/3 the number of those admitted to hospitals where alcohol was a primary reason or a secondary diagnosis in Suffolk was 13150.

Just six years later, in the year 2018/9 this number was 16050, an increase of 22%.

Conditions for hospital admission due to alcohol include cardiovascular disease, alcohol poisoning, and alcoholic liver disease.

The increase in admittances has prompted concerns from medical professionals.

Louise Mascall, alcohol, substance misuse and liver disease clinical nurse specialist at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Alcohol misuse can cause serious health problems, which can result in a hospital admission.

"The less someone drinks, the lower the risks, and we are trying to help our local community to have a healthy relationship with alcohol, to help them avoid health and social problems.

"We work closely with colleagues from Turning Point in Bury St Edmunds and Change Grow Live in Thetford, to help to reduce excessive alcohol consumption in our community.

"If you're struggling with alcohol issues, it's important that you know there is support available for you.

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"If you would like help you should first contact your local GP, and be honest about how much you drink and any problems it may be causing you."

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: "As a GP, I regularly see the consequences of excessive drinking which can include liver problems and high blood pressure.

"There are many reasons people drink too much, with some using alcohol as a way of coping with emotional issues such as stress or depression.

"The overall increase in hospital admissions shows how important it is we continue to highlight the dangers of drinking too much alcohol and the serious damage it can cause to physical and mental wellbeing."

Anyone looking for help to address their alcohol use can contact Turning Point on 0300 123 0872.

Public Health Suffolk is currently running a campaign to help encourage people reduce alcohol consumption called Small Changes.

The campaign features guidance to help understand how much alcohol is in products along with small changes people can make including look for lower alcohol alternatives, avoiding drinking between meals and having several alcohol-free days a week.

The campaign includes films from four characters who give monologues about their drinking habits.

James Reeder, cabinet member for public health and prevention, said previously: "Having a greater understanding of how much alcohol is in the drinks we consume and making small changes to reduce how much we drink, can help us to feel better and reduce our risk of long-term health conditions later in life."

More information about the campaign can be found online.

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