Alcohol related hospital admissions soaring

Wigan hospital
Wigan hospital

THOUSANDS of hospital admissions for Wiganers with booze related ailments are placing a huge strain on NHS services, shock figures reveal.

The borough is ranked among one of the worst areas in the North West for admissions due to long-term alcohol-related conditions, according to the new statistics.

As research suggests, alcohol consumption is a contributing factor to hospital admissions and deaths from a diverse range of conditions

Prof Kate Ardern

The Public Health England analysis also shows that three out of five local authorities have seen a rise in adults admitted to hospital due to alcohol.

Prof Kate Ardern, Wigan Council’s public health director, said a number of initiatives are already in place to combat the problem.

Wigan is fifth worst in the North West with 2,970 admissions per 100,000 population for long-term alcohol related conditions, worse than the regional and national average.

Although in terms of alcohol specific admissions, the number is 575 per 100,000, consistent with the regional average of 559.

Prof Ardern said: “As research suggests, alcohol consumption is a contributing factor to hospital admissions and deaths from a diverse range of conditions.

“Drinking more than is recommended - more than 21 units per week for men and more than 14 units per week for women - increases the risk of harm over time.

“Reducing alcohol-related harm is a key priority for Public Health and Wigan Council as demonstrated by the numerous initiatives and services designed to encourage residents to be healthy and drink responsibly.

“As part of Greater Manchester’s Alcohol Strategy there are a range of services that contribute to reducing alcohol related hospital admissions. For example, patients with high alcohol related re-admission rates are encouraged to seek help from our local drug and alcohol recovery partnership and a new Healthy Routes service supports people to cut down on their alcohol consumption.

“We will continue to work hard to raise awareness of the impact of excessive alcohol consumption and provide support to those who need it.”

For under 18s, the number of admissions in the borough is 59 per 100,000, slightly better than the regional average of 60.4. The national average is 40.1.

And nationally, alcohol related admissions for children has seen a decline of 41 per cent compared with figures from the previous decade.

There also continues to be huge variations between the most deprived and the least deprived areas - hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions were 55 per cent higher in the most deprived.

Prof Kevin Fenton, director of health and well-being at Public Health England, said: “The decline in hospital admissions from alcohol for under 18s is promising, but current levels of harm caused by alcohol remain unacceptably high, especially within the most deprived communities, who suffer the most from poor health in general.

“Much of this harm is preventable and we need further action at a national and local level to implement the most effective evidence based policies.”

A spokesman for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust said: “WWL is very aware of the long-term health conditions caused by alcohol and this continues to be borough-wide public health priority.

“The Trust is part of a partnership that involves public health, community, hospital and primary care organisations offering joined-up care for patients who have alcohol-related health problems.

“And we have a team of alcohol specialist nurses who offer specific help and support to patients that attend hospital with alcohol-related conditions.”

Residents can seek help with alcohol and drug problems from the Wigan & Leigh Recovery Partnership (01942 487578 ages 18-plus) or the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service (01942 865591).

The new Healthy Routes service can support people to cut down on their alcohol consumption through one to one support (01942 489012 or text HUB to 61825).