Over 1,000 victims of binge-drink Britain hospitalised a day
The NHS is being put under pressure by treating over a thousand cases of serious alcohol-related illnesses every day of the year, it was revealed last night.
The number of patients seen by consultants for alcohol-related illnesses – drink-induced injuries, mental or behavioural disorders and liver disease – and admissions to A&E for problem drinking have both doubled in the last seven years.
Among the under-18’s, there was a rise of 40% in those treated in casualty or the consulting room in the last seven years.
A dramatic rise in drink-related casualties was seen in 2005 – the year that 24-hour drinking came in to force – suggesting that relaxation of licensing laws is to blame and that the Government is failing to combat binge drinking.
The figures – uncovered by Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley in parliamentary questions to Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo – will be published today.
‘These figures reveal the human cost of the Government’s failure to make public health a priority,’ he told the Daily Mail.
‘These cases are largely preventable and put enormous pressure on an already over-stretched NHS.
‘It is particularly scandalous that so many teenagers are ending up in hospital.
‘Labour’s plundering of public health budgets to meet deficits has meant we haven’t had the leadership and cultural change we need on public health.’
However, a review by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office, due next month, is expected to say the relaxation of opening hours has not increased problem drinking.
Instead of a radical overhaul of 24-hour drinking, the Government is said to be preparing to target under-age drinkers, including encouraging tougher parental action, cutting cheap supermarket offers and curbing drinking on the street.