Rise in booze-related hospital admission

A STAGGERING snapshot of today's booze culture has emerged after alcohol-related admittances to Ipswich hospital rose by more than 50 per cent in five years.

A STAGGERING snapshot of today's booze culture has emerged after alcohol-related admittances to Ipswich hospital rose by more than 50 per cent in five years.

As revellers enjoy the Christmas and New Year party season, new figures reveal 157 people were admitted to Ipswich Hospital for alcoholic liver disease 2005/06 compared to 102 in 2001/02 - a rise of 53.9 pc.

Meanwhile 98 people were admitted for cirrhosis of the liver in 2005/06 compared to 63 in 2001/02 - a rise of 55.6 pc.

The rise has been described as “worrying” by a local MP while Alcohol Concern said the figures mirror a disturbing national trend.

The surge comes on the back of news that one in seven people in Ipswich have an alcohol-problem.

In March this year The Evening Star revealed that there are a total of 15,359 regular drinkers in the town whose habit is considered “harmful” or “hazardous” while there are a massive 2,389 alcoholics in the town.

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The latest figures relating to hospital admittance were obtained by West Suffolk MP, Richard Spring, who was handed the statistics after asking a parliamentary question.

Mr Spring said he had wanted to find out the situation in Suffolk after learning there had been a 144 per cent increase in alcohol related liver disease in the UK since 1997.

He said: “It's absolutely horrific and suggests a rising pattern of alcohol misuse which has a significant impact on the NHS.

“If you are treating people for cirrhosis at a time when there is a shortage of beds, you are reducing the bed spaces for others.”

Mr Spring said he fears the figures will increase further in the future with the area's youth “storing up” problems as a result of binge-drinking behaviour.

He is calling for more education for youngsters about the dangers of alcohol abuse before it is too late.

Figures for West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, show similar rises with an increase of 29.7pc in cases of alcoholic liver disease and an increase of 44.1 pc in cirrhosis admittances.

A spokesman for Alcohol Concern said: “The rising levels of serious alcohol harm suggest we need to redouble our efforts at raising awareness among people of the risks of drinking too much.

“We also need to put in place proper facilities to help those trying to bring their drinking down to safer levels.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said the figures had to be taken in context as the number of people admitted is dwarfed by the hospital's total catchment area of more than 320,000.

She said: “The wellbeing of our whole community is very important to the hospital and we work closely with agencies that are very skilled in this area including charities and specialist services.

“We monitor very carefully any increases.”

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