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Figures show alcohol related liver disease hospitalising hundreds

PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 October 2018

There are calls for minimum pricing on alcohol  Picture: David Jones/PA Wire

There are calls for minimum pricing on alcohol Picture: David Jones/PA Wire

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The scale of alcohol-related liver disease in Suffolk and Essex has been revealed in new figures – showing hundreds of people are admitted to hospital every year.

Cllr James Reeder, Cabinet Member for HealthCllr James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Health

The statistics, released by Public Health England, show that 174 people were admitted with the condition in Suffolk in the 12 months leading up to March – a rate of 23 patients for every 100,000 residents.

Essex hospitals saw 307 people during the same period, the equivalent of 21 people admitted for every 100,000 residents.

Professor Roger Williams, director of the Institute of Hepatology, proposed setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol to curb drinking.

He said: “Liver disease mortality rates have increased about 600% in the last 50 years.

“That happens because alcohol consumption among the population has increased and this is linked to the fact that the costs of alcoholic drinks proportionally have fallen.

“Setting a minimum alcohol price is a highly effective way of dealing with the problem.

“In Canada, they had a 14% drop in emergency admissions and 8% drop in mortality in the first 12 months after setting this minimum.”

Judi Rhys, CEO of the British Liver Trust, called on GPs to improve their awareness of the risks.

She added: “There has also been an exponential increase in the supply of low price alcohol to the public with a growing range of cheap drink promotions in shops. More people drink at home and more people drink wine and spirits which have a much higher alcohol content.”

Both Suffolk and Essex are below the national average of 39 admissions per 100,000 people.

James Reeder, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, said: “Excessive alcohol drinking is a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions including mouth, throat, stomach and liver cancers, high blood pressure and liver disease.

“In Suffolk, the rate of alcohol related hospital admissions is below the national average and has been consistently so over time. This shows that the work of Suffolk’s alcohol strategy is working, however there is still more to be done.”

The figures also show that socioeconomic status is a factor in how likely some one is to suffer from alcohol-related liver disease.

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