Hospital admissions for conditions caused by alcohol abuse rising in Bedford

Hospital admissions for conditions directly caused by alcohol abuse are rising in Bedford, new Public Health England figures show.

The British Liver Trust says the figures are "alarming" and put them down to an increasing drinking culture amongst middle aged and older drinkers.

Drinking in excess increased in middle aged people

Drinking in excess increased in middle aged people

In Bedford, there were 716 admissions directly linked to excessive drinking in the 12 months to March 2018. That's 18% more than five years earlier.

The data only includes patients suffering conditions which are entirely attributable to alcohol abuse, such as liver cirrhosis.

Admissions of under age drinkers have dropped. There were 27 between April 2015 and March 2018, compared with 35 in 2010-13. The figures for children are measured over a three year period due to low numbers.

Vanessa Hebditch, director of policy at the British Liver Trust, said the Government should increase taxes on alcoholic drinks or set a minimum unit price.

She said: "These statistics are alarming. Over the last thirty years, there has been a big shift in the UK’s drinking culture, particularly amongst middle aged and older drinkers.

"Filling up your supermarket trolley with wine and drinking at home has become increasingly acceptable and affordable. The Government should act to address this through taxation such as by creating a minimum unit price."

Scotland introduced a minimum unit price of 50p in May 2017, while the Welsh Government is planning to implement the same measure next summer.

Dr John Larsen, director of evidence and impact for alcohol education charity Drinkaware, warned that young people are increasingly more likely to binge drink.

He said: "The more alcohol people drink, the greater their risk of developing a serious condition, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as seven types of cancer.

"Men and women should not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis."

Across England, 304,073 people were taken to hospital for conditions caused by alcohol abuse. That's 3% higher than five years earlier.

Salford, in Greater Manchester, has the highest rate of admissions for alcohol-specific conditions. Redbridge, in east London, has the lowest.

The Government estimates alcohol misuse costs the NHS about £3.5 billion each year.