North East campaigners call for urgent action to tackle the ‘tsunami’ of alcohol harm
It comes as a new report by health and care organisation Turning Point reveals the impact of alcohol-related harm, with a £1.16 billion cost alone to the NHS from UK hospital admissions between 2021 and 2022*.
Nationally nearly 1 million people were admitted to hospital or received a secondary diagnosis in 2020-21 due to alcohol. That included around 435,000 from cardiovascular disease, 227,000 mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol and 93,000 due to cancer from alcohol.
The new report from Turning Point ‘A Sobering Thought’ sets out a series of recommendations urging the Government to prioritise tackling alcohol harm.
Meanwhile the Scottish Government is to consult on plans to raise the minimum unit price of alcohol to 65p. MUP was introduced in Scotland in 2018 and the evidence has shown its effectiveness in reducing alcohol-attributable deaths and hospital admissions. Balance is urging the Westminster Government to follow suit in England.
Sue Taylor, Head of Alcohol Policy at Balance, commented: “In the North East, we have the highest rates of alcohol deaths and alcohol-related hospital admissions in the country. The burden of alcohol harm is too high, and starkly felt in our most deprived communities.
“It really hits home when we hear that deaths from liver disease alone have increased by 400% since the 1970s. Behind every statistic is a real person and we welcome proposals in Turning Point’s report to improve prevention and identify people at risk at the earliest opportunity.
“It simply isn’t right that alcohol costs our NHS billions, while the alcohol industry continues to profit from a harmful product that is far too affordable, available and widely promoted. We suffer many of the same problems with alcohol in the North East as in Scotland and yet we’re not seeing action here.
“If we’re ever going to start turning the tide on alcohol harm, it’s absolutely vital that the Government takes note of this report, what’s happening over the border and the vast body of evidence around tackling alcohol harms, and announces an evidence-based national alcohol strategy.”
*This figure is based on the fact the weighted average of all hospital stays in the UK is calculated at £1,224 and there were 948,312 hospital admissions related to alcohol in 2021-22.
Click here to read the full report.