1. ITV Report

The cost of alcohol-related hospital admissions

Many alcohol-related admissions end up in A and E Photo: ITV News Tyne Tees

New figures reveal the North East continues to record the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England.

Middlesbrough tops the table, with the most admissions in the region and across the country. South Tyneside, Sunderland and North Tyneside also make the English top ten.

The figures do not only relate to the direct effects of drinking. They also take in other admissions which have followed alcohol consumption, such as falls, assaults and other injuries.

Dr Vincent Connolly assesses patients when they arrive at A and E in Middlesbrough.

He says the cost of alcohol misuse is twofold: patient health and NHS resources.

"Some patients need to have very high levels of nursing care, they need one-on-one nursing care because of challenges around managing their behaviour. Some of them need very intense medical care and end up in intensive care units as well so they are individuals who can be extremely sick and need a lot of input."

– Dr Vincent Connolly, James Cook University Hospital

The North East Alcohol Office, Balance, says admissions span the ages, from young binge drinkers to those who have spent a lifetime consuming alcohol.

The organisation, though, says there is some good news. The level of alcohol-related hospital admissions is falling faster in the North East than any other region.

"We've had the biggest reduction in hospital admissions so that's really well done for the North East and shows the strength of the partnership work but we need to keep working from looking at the availability, the price of alcohol and marketting. We need help from a national perspective, we need to look at things like the minimum unit price, advertising, regulations and licensing."

– Mary Edwards, Balance

The new figures have been compiled by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. It believes that across the country, the percentage of people who regularly drink is falling.

Balance says while there is cause for optimism in the North East, there is much work still to do.

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