Alcohol blamed for 2m A&E patients

12:17am Thursday 21st June 2012

© Press Association 2014

Alcohol-related injury and illness accounts for 14% of all accident and emergency hospital attendance, research has found.

More than one in 10 people attend A&E wards with an alcohol-related injury while 3% of patients attend due to alcohol-related illness, a study suggested.

The authors of the report, published online in Emergency Medicine Journal, suggest the numbers equate to nearly two million alcohol-related visits to emergency care departments in England and Wales every year.

Researchers found that one third of patients, or 640,000, who attended A and E units required admission to hospital.

They studied 774 patients seeking emergency care at Bristol Royal Infirmary over a four week period in June 2009.

"Harmful and hazardous alcohol use is a major problem," the authors write. "If these figures are extrapolated, the number of patients presenting with alcohol-related injury is in excess of 7,000 attendances to the Bristol Royal Infirmary annually, or nearly 2 million patients every year in England and Wales."

Alcohol Concern director of campaigns Emily Robinson said: "Alcohol-related hospital admissions remain extremely high, having doubled over a decade.

"This study provides a worrying insight into the actual level of the burden put on to emergency medical services by those who have been drinking and those who suffer the results of alcohol-induced violence

"And it estimates nearly two million attendances at A and E per year across England and Wales could be due to alcohol.

"While the Government has shown a will to tackle these problems in its new alcohol strategy, it must now make sure that the policies suggested, such as dedicated alcohol liaison nurses in A and E, are backed by sufficient resources to make a real difference."


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