Alcohol abuse costing £2.7 billion a year

Alcohol abuse costing £2.7 billion a year
Alcohol abuse costing £2.7 billion a year

Alcohol-related poor health costs the NHS £2.7 billion pounds per year, the National Audit Office (NAO) revealed today.

Alcohol misuse has become an increasing burden on the NHS, with drinking-related deaths increasing over 100 per cent since 1990.

"Alcohol misuse constitutes a heavy and increasing burden on the NHS," said Tim Burr, head of the NAO.

"If services to tackle alcohol misuse are going to make a bigger difference, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) need to understand better the scale of the problem in their local communities."

Hospital admissions for the three main alcohol-specific conditions (alcohol-related liver disease, mental health disorders linked to alcohol, and acute intoxication) have also increased - doubling in the last 11 years.

Efforts to address this problem have been poorly organised and required greater use of local planning, the report said.

Andrew Lansley, shadow health secretary, said: "Ministers have failed to deliver a coherent strategy to tackle alcohol misuse."

Approximately 25 per cent of the PCTs surveyed by the NAO did not adequately evaluate the impact of alcohol-related problems in their areas, even though it is their duty to establish local health priorities.

NAO research revealed a fundamental lack of understanding about alcohol measurements - many people did understand how much is meant by a 'unit' of alcohol (10 millilitres of ethanol).


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