Swanswell calls for action as alcohol-related hospital admissions rise

26 June 2015

UK drug and alcohol charity Swanswell, has reacted with concern to statistics showing that alcohol-related hospital admissions have more than doubled since 2004.

Figures released this month by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show that nearly half a million people were admitted to hospital where alcohol was a factor in 2003/4. In 2013/14 the figure had more than doubled to over one million, with around two thirds of these admissions being due to longer term chronic illnesses such as cancers and hypertension conditions.

During the last decade, alcohol has become cheaper and more readily available. With more people drinking at home, it’s also harder for people to keep track of their drinking. Swanswell believes the government needs to provide better education and clearer information around the harms of problem alcohol use before we begin to see a decrease in these figures. We need to help future generations make informed decisions about their relationship with alcohol, and avoid drinking behaviour that could damage their health before we have a positive impact that tackles society’s alcohol problem.

Reacting to the report Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘These figures are extremely concerning, however they’re not surprising considering the way society’s relationship with alcohol has changed over the last decade and more. The problem is that alcohol has become so integrated into everyday life that it’s difficult for someone to know when drinking is becoming a problem. There are also so many mixed messages around alcohol, which adds to the confusion. We need to be clear that when people drink they are increasing their risk of  both short and long term alcohol-related health problems.’

She added; ‘We can’t expect people to drink responsibly within the government’s guidelines when people don’t understand the units system used to measure alcohol - only 13 per cent of people know how to work out alcohol units. It’s vital that people have access to better education and clearer information – and that governments take appropriate action to remove mixed messaging around alcohol.

‘We all have a part to play in tackling alcohol misuse, it’s not something any individual, organisation or government can tackle on their own.’

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