Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

Suffolk charity leaders blame ‘scandalous’ rise in alcohol-related deaths on ‘brutal’ budget cuts

PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 November 2017

More people are dying from alcohol misuse than ever before

More people are dying from alcohol misuse than ever before

The number of people dying in the East of England because of alcohol abuse has reached its highest level since records began in 1994, new figures reveal.

Tony Kimber, chief executive of Focus 12. Picture: CHRIS SHIMWELL Tony Kimber, chief executive of Focus 12. Picture: CHRIS SHIMWELL

Charity bosses running rehabilitation services in Suffolk have blamed austerity for the snowballing problem, and said commissioners slicing health budgets have “blood on their hands”.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 659 alcohol-related deaths in this region in 2016, a rise of 97 on the previous year and more than double the number from 1994 when there were 280 deaths.

Tony Kimber, chief executive of Focus 12, a rehab in Bury St Edmunds, said fewer people with alcohol problems were getting early intervention and therefore developing “untreatable” illnesses because health funding had been “squeezed”.

He added: “I think more fundamentally that alcohol is so freely available, it’s socially acceptable. We have a drinking culture which does look at non-drinkers as kind of strange. If you look at the legislation with tobacco it’s been really successful in reducing the number of smokers and smoking-related deaths and maybe we should look at doing the same thing with alcohol.”

Brian Tobin, chief executive of Iceni Ipswich. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR Brian Tobin, chief executive of Iceni Ipswich. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Brian Tobin, chief executive of addiction support charity Iceni Ipswich, said drug-related deaths were also increasing.

“We have never been so busy in 20 years,” he added. “It’s tough out there at the minute for many people. We have had austerity for five/six years and we are starting to see the fall out for families.”

Mr Tobin said commissioners who had allowed the “brutal cuts” in rehabilitation services had “blood on their hands” over these deaths.

He added: “It’s scandalous that people are dying and no one seems to care.”

Tony Goldson, head of health at Suffolk County Council. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR Tony Goldson, head of health at Suffolk County Council. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Mike Gogarty, director for public health and communities at Essex County Council, said the increase was “a worry” and assured the authority would do “everything we can to support those affected by alcohol misuse”.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, Tony Goldson, said: “Excessive alcohol consumption is a major cause of preventable premature death and we work with key partners and treatment providers to monitor any increase in the harm associated with this and provide support in a number of ways.”

Drivers are being warned the Orwell Bridge is likely to shut tonight until tomorrow morning due to forecast high winds.

Campaigners shocked by the news that there are no publicly accessible defibrillators in Ipswich town centre once shops shut are taking matters into their own hands.

Plans for a new discounted railcard for 26 to 30-year-olds will be trialled in East Anglia from next month.

Celebrations are underway as a fundraising campaign to build a new breast care centre at Ipswich Hospital hits its first major milestone.

A popular hotel in Kesgrave is set to get a health spa added to its site in 2018, as fresh proposals have been submitted to planners.

Police investigating a robbery of a 79-year-old woman in Ipswich on Bonfire Night have arrested a man in connection with the incident.

The count down to Christmas has begun, with residents across Suffolk preparing for various Christmas lights switch on events.

The trial of a Suffolk man accused of locking a woman in his home before allegedly raping her has been adjourned until tomorrow due to a juror being unwell.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is today unveiling his first autumn budget with predictions that it could be one of the most interesting for years.

A woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by a former Ipswich man around two decades ago when she was a schoolgirl has denied making up the allegations.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24