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Excess alcohol causes 15 deaths a year in Jersey

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The findings of new report on alcohol consumption in Jersey show residents are among the heaviest drinkers in Europe.

Here are the key findings of the Jersey Alcohol Profile 2015.

  • Although alcohol consumption per capita in Jersey has fallen to an average of 12 litres of pure alcohol per year, the figure is one of the highest in Europe, significantly higher than the OECD average of nine litres
  • One in 10 people in Jersey report not drinking any alcohol
  • One in four drinkers were found to be drinking at potentially hazardous or harmful levels
  • An average of 15 people a year die from conditions directly related to alcohol consumption
  • Around 500 people a year are admitted to the hospital for a specific alcohol-related condition
  • At least 500 domestic violence incidents involving alcohol have been reported to the States of Jersey Police since the beginning of 2012.

However on a more positive side...

  • The majority of pregnant woman (94%) don’t drink alcohol
  • Fewer young people are drinking, and those who do drink less than their UK counterparts.

The profile covers a range of topics from drinking habits and behaviours of adults and children, drinking-related ill-health and mortality, alcohol pricing and alcohol-related costs. The report uses data from a range of sources including the Jersey Annual Social Survey, Hospital data and data provided by States of Jersey Departments.

– Marguerite Clarke, report author

Jersey people among heaviest drinkers in Europe

Credit: Gregor Fischer/DPA/Press Association Images

Residents in Jersey are among the heaviest drinkers in Europe.

Figures released today show islanders' average alcohol consumption remains among the highest in Europe and developed countries.

Despite this, there's been a huge reduction in drinking in the past 10-years.

New evidence shows one in four islanders who drink alcohol do so at dangerous levels likely to affect their health.

There is definitely no room for complacency. We are still flashing red on some of the indicators, and hazardous levels of alcohol consumption continue to take their toll on adult Islanders’ health. However, there are certainly some signs of an improving picture. Jersey’s young people report mostly healthier lifestyles and are showing positive improvements in behaviours such as smoking and drinking, so there is hope for a healthier future.

– Dr Susan Turnbull, Medical Officer of Health


Care services under consultation

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Guernsey States want to know what islanders want from their care and support services.

Today, they've launched a consultation on the the Supported Living and Ageing Well Strategy, which will run for a month.

They want to know who islanders expect to pay for care and how they think it should be funded.

There is a range of services in Guernsey and Alderney which support people with enduring care and support needs. Services range from those supporting people with low needs who mostly take care of themselves, to people with complex or challenging needs who can’t be cared for in Guernsey and are offered specialist residential placements off-island. In order for this range of services to be experienced as a ‘continuum of care’ in the future, we need to make sure that there are no gaps in provision and that services work together centering around the person with care or support needs.

– Deputy Peter Harwood, Chair of the SLAWS Working Party of Policy Council

The consultation runs until 22nd July, and the States is seeking the views of people and organisations from across the community with experience of, and expertise in, care and support.

The consultation sets out a number of options that could be considered before proposals and recommendations are put to the States Assembly early next year, and views are being sought to inform what those proposals and recommendations might be.

Local charities who have a vested interest in the States care services are welcoming the chance to have their say.

When people hear "Supported Living and Ageing Well", they tend to think of older people only. We're very pleased to see that Guernsey's future care and support system is being designed to meet the needs of all adults over 18.

Someone of working age who has a stroke, or was born with Downs Syndrome, or has developed a severe mental health condition needs the right support in place to achieve maximum independence. The partners, parents and friends of working age adults may be in a caring role for many years and must not be left to cope alone. The Supported Living and Ageing Well project is an integral part of delivering Guernsey's Disability Strategy for younger and older disabled people, and their families".

– Shelaine Green, Guernsey Disability Alliance

The consultation can be filled in online here.

Public meetings will also be held at St Sampson’s High School on Monday 6th July at 19:00 and on Tuesday 14 July, at Le Murier at 19:00.

Avoidable heart conditions killing men in Jersey

In Jersey, cardiovascular disease is the second biggest killer of men, after cancer.

It kills more than a hundred men per year.

The most important, as well as avoidable, cause of poor cardiovascular health in Europe is smoking.

Premature deaths (of people under the age of 75) from CVD in Jersey rank among the highest of the English regions and the death rate for men in the island is double that of females dying prematurely from cardiovascular diseases.


Cancer causes 130 deaths per year in Jersey

Death rates from cancers are 58% higher for men than women in Jersey.

It is the main cause of death in the island - causing around 130 per year (35% of all male deaths).

Men are more likely to develop malignant cancers too. Incidence is 29% higher than in women, though survival rates are equal between gender.

Lung cancer is most likely to kill locally and one in ten cancers diagnosed each year will be lung cancer.

Prostate cancer accounts for more than a quarter of all malignant cancers diagnosed each year, but only accounts for 13% of cancer deaths. The health department put that down to availability of testing on-island.

Men who ignore symptoms, instead of visiting their doctor are running the risk of premature death.

Men who ignore symptoms, instead of visiting their doctor are running the risk of premature death.

Almost a fifth of men in Jersey say they haven't seen a doctor in the last year and 3% aren't even registered with a doctor.

Mechanic, Igor Vieira sees men worrying about things going wrong with their cars everyday - but agrees with HSSD's assessment, that if they hear something out of kilter with their own bodies, men generally won't seek help as readily.

"As a guy you're more likely to not wanna go visit the doctor because you think you can deal with it yourself without having to go to the doctors whereas ladies are a bit more cautious. If there is a problem they'll go and get themselves checked out. "I'd rather not know if there is a problem, hopefully it's nothing major just something that will disappear and not come back."

– Igor Vieira

Plumber, David Birch, agrees.

"I just give it a couple of days, see if you get over it. "I don't like doctors. They poke and prod you in places you don't want to be poked and prodded."

– David Birch

Poor lifestyles a factor in early deaths for men

Poor lifestyles and preventable risk factors account for a high proportion of premature death in men.

In Jersey, although the proportions of men and women who smoke are about the same, men are more likely to smoke a lot more per day than women and suffer more serious consequences too.

Between 2010-2012, 90 men died because of smoking and drinking - one in five of all male deaths were smoking-related.

Credit: PA

Alcohol consumption is higher in men and males are more likely to binge drink and suffer alcohol harm too.

Men account for almost three-quarters of all alcohol related deaths in the island.

Credit: PA

More men are overweight or obese in the island and the way they carry the extra weight, with central fat deposition, increases the risk of problems including heart disease and diabetes.

Credit: PA

The state of men's health in Jersey is 'unacceptable'

120 men die from preventable deaths each year in Jersey.

A new report from the Island's Health and Social Services Department found one in four men won't live beyond their 64th birthday, compared with one in six women.

Credit: PA

The 'State of Men's Health' was investigated by health officials who drew information from past Annual Social Surveys, health profiles and other surveys. It said men's health is heavily influenced by lifestyle and behaviour.

"We've noticed all of the ingredients of it in different ways, but when you pull it all together you get a really powerful tale of it's absolutely unacceptable that men's health is so much worse than women. "But the really, really exciting thing about it is most of it's avoidable and it all depends how far men are prepared to go to alter their own odds of being an early death or living a long and healthy life."

– Dr Susan Turnbull, Jersey's Medical Officer of Health
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