Port of Call believes new figures are further proof dependent drinkers aren’t getting the support they need to keep them out of hospital.
Public Health England figures released today (Feb5) reveal that there were 1.7 million hospital admissions linked to alcohol in England in 2017 to 2018 – a rate that has been increasing every year since 2008 to 2009.
Martin Preston, Port of Call founder, said: “If somebody is unable to access the right help, alcoholism starts to take its toll and they sometimes end up in hospital.
“The real issue is what happens for dependent drinkers who are hospitalised once they have been discharged,
“If they’re really lucky they stay in for a couple of days and have detox, but then they leave, often without any ongoing care or treatment. It just puts a very temporary sticking plaster over the problem as the dependent drinker goes back to their everyday environment without a defense against picking up their next drink. Alcoholism is two fold; a hospital can treat the immediate physical aspects but not the psychological aspects of dependency. For some people the hospital becomes a revolving door. What is needed is a process of education, information and resources which unfortunately are so often lacking within the NHS. It’s about rehabilitating the whole person.
“For a lot of people alcohol dependency has been a problem for years and years – they’ve been in and out of hospital, often to and fro from the GP yet have never had access to the right treatment or been appropriately signposted to the right support.
“A hospital admission is an opportunity for that intervention. Calls often come in to our helpline at a point of crisis – often after someone has had a hospital admission, loss of a job, loss of a driving licence or when they are staring down the barrel of a marriage break-up.”
Of course not all of those admissions will involve dependent drinkers – but it’s perhaps fair to assume problem drinkers are a factor in the rising figures, especially in light of findings of a Public Health England inquiry last year, which showed a growing number of people in need of help are not getting treatment.
Public Health England vowed to further highlight the need for alcohol treatment services, following an inquiry into the drop in number of people accessing help, the findings of which were published in November last year.
This fall in numbers occurred despite high levels of unmet need, with an estimated four in five alcohol-dependent adults not accessing alcohol treatment.
Analysis suggested factors such as financial pressures and service reconfiguration has affected alcohol treatment numbers more than treatment numbers for other substances.
The ‘Local Alcohol Profiles for England: short statistical commentary, February 2019 update’ says in England in 2017 to 2018:
- Almost twice as many men as women were admitted to hospital for alcohol related conditions – 3,051 men per 100,000 population compared to 1,513 women.
- The rate of hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions where the main reason for admission was attributed to alcohol is highest in the over 65 age group (1,016 per 100,000). That is followed by the 40 to 64 age group (877 per 100,000). By gender, the rate is highest for males aged over 65 (1,459 per 100,000) and for females aged 40 to 64 (682 per 100,000).
- The rate of hospital admissions for conditions solely caused by alcohol consumption in the under 18s continued to fall in 2017 to 2018. In the under 18 age group, more girls are admitted to hospital for alcohol-specific reasons than boys. In the most recent three-year period, the admission rate for girls was 39.6 per 100,000 compared to 26.4 per 100,000 for boys.
- In 2017 to 2018 in England there were 1.17 million hospital admissions where the primary or any secondary reason for admission was linked to alcohol. Increases in the rate have been observed every year since 2008 to 2009.
Port of Call provides advice and guidance on addiction support services in the UK. If you are concerned about your own alcohol consumption or that of a loved one, get in touch.