1. ITV Report

Alcohol admissions to NHS 'almost 10 million'

Photo: REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

The number of dangerously drunk people admitted to an NHS facility for treatment last year came dangerously close to 10 million, health experts warned.

Charity Alcohol Concern warned the 9.9million alcohol-related admissions were putting an "intolerable strain" on the taxpayer funded health service.

The figures included admissions to clinics, A&E visits and hospital patients in England during 2012-13.

Alcohol-related NHS admissions are putting an 'intolerable strain' a charity has warned Credit: PA

Some 9.6 million people are now drinking in excess of Government guidelines - including 2.4 million who are classed as "high risk", according to the charity.

Men aged between 55-75 were most likely to wind up in hospital after too much booze, the figures showed.

Drinkers who put away more than six to eight units of alcohol per day are defined as high risk, with one unit of alcohol is less than a small glass of wine or half a pint of beer.

Alcohol Concern's map shows how many admissions each area had. Credit: Alcohol Concern

The charity released a map showing which areas in England were facing which drink-related problems.

The South East of England was revealed as the region with the most "high risk" drinkers, with more than 1.6 million people, while the North West had the most alcohol-related deaths with 3,501 in 2012.

Alcohol Concern has now called on the Government to put greater emphasis on alcohol education or risk a "public health crisis" which will cost the nation billions in health spending.

The charity's chief executive, Jackie Ballard, said:

The NHS is now facing an intolerable strain from alcohol-related illnesses. This is not just from readily-identifiable causes such as A&E visits and admissions for liver disease, but from a significant number of other conditions in which alcohol plays a major, but often under appreciated part.

We urgently need action to prevent alcohol misuse. The first and most effective of which is for the Government to implement a minimum unit price, which has the potential to save the economy millions, and most importantly save lives.

– Jackie Ballard

Public Health England (PHE) said alcohol harm was "going in the wrong direction" as it repeated calls for minimum pricing to be introduced.

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