Alcohol incidents impact on NHS

NEARLY 90,000 people were admitted to hospital last year because of alcohol related incidents, it has been revealed.

NEARLY 90,000 people were admitted to hospital last year because of alcohol related incidents, it has been revealed.

In the east of England 84,700 people ended up in hospital after consuming too much drink.

Of these, 15,700 admissions were wholly-attributable to drink with the remainder being classed by the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) as partly-attributable.

The figures come just days after Suffolk police revealed the extent of alcohol-related violence.

Last year they dealt with 4,612 incidents. In Ipswich alone, the number of boozy brawls and assaults was 1,413 - the equivalent to four every day and a rise of more than 20 per cent over a four-year period.

The East of England SHA recently carried out survey, called The Big Drink Debate, into people's attitude towards alcohol.

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It found that men are more likely (69%) than women (52%) to drink regularly, and men are also more likely to drink above recommended limits.

Simon How, senior public health programmes manager at the Government Office for the East of England, said: “People do not always recognise that they are drinking above safe levels and more information and support may help people make more informed decisions about how much they drink.

“Most people agreed there ought to be more help and advice available for people to drink less - which shows there are some real opportunities for joint working between schools, the NHS and the alcohol industry to help people make informed decisions.

“The results from the Big Drink Debate have helped us get a picture of people's drinking habits in our region. We will use this intelligence to inform our strategies to reduce what in the main is preventable harm from alcohol by offering targeted support.”

Of the alcohol-related violence, Becky Kidd-Stanton, operations inspector at Ipswich police station, said: “Dealing with alcohol-related incidents is important and that's why it is part of our strategy. Excess alcohol often sheds inhibitions to the extent where it is hard to reason with a person.

“We like to be able to engage with people. That's what our officers are trained to do. Unfortunately alcohol means people don't react in a way they normally react. They may be confrontational or aggressive to officers or members of the public.

“People's behaviour changes once they have alcohol. It's really sad to speak to people the next day. They are really nice people that were on their way home from a pub or club and have assaulted someone or behaved in a way they would never normally have done and that decision could colour their future.

“We have been working closely with pubs and clubs to try to achieve responsible alcohol sales and the management of supply of alcohol to people.”