Drink related hospital admissions - high

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 June 2011

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PEOPLE in North Somerset are more likely to be admitted to hospital for problems caused by drinking than in most other parts of the country, regional health bosses have admitted.

Figures obtained by the Weston Mercury reveal eight per cent of hospital admissions in the district were alcohol-related during 2009/10.

A total of 4,641 out of 57,587 patients taken into hospital during the period needed treatment because of drinking problems such as liver disease, cancers and mental disorders

The statistics represent no change from the year before when 4,578 out of 55,972 admissions were down to alcohol, also a rate of eight per cent.

This week, bosses at NHS North Somerset said the rate of alcohol-related admissions in the district was slightly higher than the national average.

Health improvement manager, Jan Bond, said: “Sadly we are part of the national trend over the last decade which has seen a rise in alcohol-related admissions.

“It is down to drinking habits and problems surrounding the high number of bars we have in places such as Weston.”

In response to the problem, Mrs Bond said funding had been awarded to treat people who drink at harmful levels.

This includes employing an alcohol nurse at Weston General Hospital, a GP with a specialism in alcoholism and investing in the district alcohol helpline service.

Regional director of public health, Dr Gabriel Scally, highlighted the proportion of alcohol-related admissions had not gone up from 2008/09 to 2009/10.

He said: “The rate of hospital admissions due to alcohol related harm has not increased in the last year which is very good.

“NHS North Somerset’s significant investment into work on alcohol, strengthening the community outreach services and increasing numbers of brief interventions is clearly delivering improvements in this area.”

Nationally, the statistics, published by the NHS Information Centre, showed 1,057,000 alcohol-related admissions took place in 2009/10.

Men comprised nearly two-thirds of admissions, which rose by 12 per cent from 2008/09.

Anyone concerned about drinking should call The Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) on 01934 415376.

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