Alcohol-related illnesses putting strain on NHS in Wales

It's the start of Alcohol Awareness Week Photo: Katie Collins/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Alcohol-related illnesses are costing the NHS in Wales around £70m a year. That's according to the Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths.

The warning comes at the start of Alcohol Awareness Week.

New figures released as part of the campaign indicate that the majority of people in Wales underestimate the alcoholic content of many common drinks. The figures reveal that while most people knew the guideline number of units of alcohol the average person can safely drink on a daily basis, but they underestimated how many units were in both beer and wine.

The 'Change 4 Life' campaign is targeting people who perceive themselves as regular 'moderate' drinkers. For women drinking more than one small glass of wine and for men more than one pint of beer per day would take them well over the recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption.

The figures show:

  • 56% underestimated the number of units in a standard glass of wine
  • 74% underestimated the alcohol content of a large glass of wine
  • 76% underestimated the units in a pint of strong beer
  • 52% underestimated the units in a can of ordinary strength beer.

Marking the start of Alcohol Awareness Week, the Health Minister said:

It is very important that people are aware of the risks involved. We know that the cost of alcohol-related illness to the NHS in Wales amounts to around £70m a year. Often people associate health problems with binge drinking but drinking above the guidelines on a regular basis can potentially be just as damaging.

– Lesley Griffiths AM, Health Minister