A&E staff 'to face 3 drunk people every minute': How alcohol cases could swamp hospitals by 2015
Alcohol will soon cause three Britons per minute to be taken to hospital, campaigners warn.
Soaring rates of binge-drinking mean that by 2015 alcohol-related problems will be responsible for 1.5 million A&E admissions a year.
More than a million people are being brought to hospital with problems wholly caused by alcohol – twice as many as in 2002.
The problem is estimated to cost the NHS more than £2.7 billion a year – but this will rise to £3.8 billion a year by 2015, according to Alcohol Concern.
In a damning report, the charity accuses ministers of ‘failing to act decisively’ to curb spiralling levels of binge-drinking.
A quarter of British adults – more than ten million – drink more than the recommended daily limit of two units for a women, three for men.
Of these, 2.6 million drink at least double this amount every day – the equivalent of four glasses of wine for a woman or three pints of beer for a man.
While the NHS has invested vast sums to tackle smoking and drug use, investment in alcohol-related problems has been ‘shameful’, according to Alcohol Concern. GPs should be given bonuses as part of their incentive scheme for carrying out checks on patients’ drinking levels, its report says.
It also calls for surgeries and A&E units to appoint specialist alcohol health workers to diagnose problem drinkers and refer them for treatment.