Researchers at the Nuffield Trust health think tank published a report on 22nd December which showed the extent of the challenge to the NHS posed by harmful drinking. Commenting on the new guidance on alcohol consumption from the Chief Medical Officer today, report author Dr Alisha Davies said:
“The CMO’s evidence based guidelines for alcohol consumption are welcome, given the rising demands alcohol related harm is placing on health services and wider society. Our research before Christmas found worrying trends in attendances and admissions to hospital specific to alcohol. The rate at which people are entering NHS wards for reasons specific to alcohol has gone up by over 50% in the past nine years.
The number of admissions now tops a quarter of a million a year. We also found those with alcohol related liver disease tended to be associated with higher hospital use for up to five years before diagnosis, underlining how this condition can come from a person’s health deteriorating in a way that could be preventable. These statistics, however, are at the extreme end of harmful drinking, and only represent the tip of the iceberg.
“The CMO’s clear message is that drinking any alcohol can have harmful effects on health. It’s not always an easy message, but people who drink really do need to watch their intake carefully”.