Increase in patients being treated for alcohol misuse

Eastbourne ambulance
Eastbourne ambulance

The number of patients being admitted to hospital as a result of alcohol misuse in East Sussex is rising.

Hospitals across the area treated 10.2 per cent more people in 2013/2014 than 2012/2013 – rising from 9,660 to 10,650.

The figures, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) also show men are more likely to be taken to hospital.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “It’s estimated that one in four adults in East Sussex are drinking at levels considered to be an increasing or higher risk to health.

“While there has been an increase, alcohol-related admissions in East Sussex largely follow the same trends that are seen both regionally and nationally.”

Eastbourne district has seen a two per cent increase in the number of patients being admitted between 2012/2013 and 2013/2014, while Hastings has seen an increase of 16 per cent, from 1,850 to 2,150 people.

The number of people admitted to hospital from Lewes district increased by six per cent over the two year period, while Wealden saw a seven per cent rise.

However, Rother has seen the biggest increase, with a 21 per cent more people being admitted to hospital with alcohol-related conditions – from 1,670 to 2,030.

A report by HSCIC states: “The estimated cost of alcohol harm to society is £21 billion per year.

“Information on estimated cost to the NHS of alcohol misuse shows that it costs £3.5 billion every year, which is equal to £120 for every taxpayer.”

The majority of patients in East Sussex are treated at Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital, Hastings.

East Sussex County Council works with health services to support people affected by harmful drinking through the East Sussex Alcohol Steering Group, which is working to reduce under-age sales and promote responsible sales of alcohol.

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council added: “Treatment services in East Sussex focus on sustainable recovery, which has been successful in helping people stop drinking in the long term.”

He added the council has been working with treatment providers to target people over the age of 60, who can be more vulnerable to hospital admission.

A spokesperson for Public Health England (PHE) South East said: “The increase in hospital admissions reflects the harm that is caused by alcohol. Much of this harm is preventable.

“We know that more people are choosing not to drink at all, particularly younger adults. If people choose to drink alcohol then keeping within the recommended limits will reduce the harm it can cause.

“Much of the harm caused by alcohol is in people who are not addicted but drink frequently.

“If people are going to drink alcohol, they should drink within lower risk limits and aim to have alcohol-free days as often as they can.”

He added local authorities are ‘leading action’ to raise awareness about alcohol – but called for ‘further action’ nationally and locally to implement the most effective policies.

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