A study by King’s College London has revealed that a significant number of the patients (one in five) admitted to various hospitals in the UK is into severe alcohol abuse. The researchers have recommended the screening of such alcohol abusers and have called for more numbers of trained support staff.
In addition to causing a large number of health ailments, alcohol abuse costs the NHS a whopping 3.5 billion pounds a year. The study published in the Addiction journal stated alcohol abuse and dependence to be 10 and 8 times higher than others respectively. The study took into account 124 past studies and 1.5 million plus patients to determine the number of patients suffering from 26 odd alcohol related conditions. These include disorders related to liver, mental health, GI tract, besides alcohol poisoning and foetal alcohol syndrome. The study was conducted on patients admitted to general wards, A&E departments, or intensive care units.
The main researcher, Dr Emmert Roberts suggested that the problem is considerably bigger than what is believed. He stressed on the need to have dedicated alcohol care units inside hospitals to tackle the alarming situation. As an aside, at the beginning of the year, NHS England had planned to place dedicated alcohol care teams in 50 hospitals with more alcohol related admissions.
The head of policy and public affairs, World Cancer Research Fund, Kate Oldridge-Turner expressed her dismay at the figures and blamed it on the all pervasive drinking culture in the UK. She put the onus on the government to make the overall environments healthy and dissuade people from taking to alcohol.