One in five women and almost one out of every three men are putting their health at risk by drinking more than the recommended amount, the government’s spending watchdog warned.
A National Audit Office (NAO) report into health services in England for alcohol misuse found that more than 10 million people are drinking more than they should.
The NAO criticised health providers for failing to have a clear picture of alcohol problems and required spending in their areas.
Hospital admissions for alcohol-related liver disease, mental health disorders linked to alcohol and acute intoxication doubled in the 11 years between 1995-96 and 2006-07, while the number of deaths from alcohol-related causes doubled to 8,758 between 1991 and 2006, the NAO said.
Based on a survey of PCTs, the NAO report concluded that efforts to address the problem locally were not, in general, well planned.
It said that a quarter of trusts had not fully assessed alcohol problems in its area. Moreover, many do not have a clear picture on spending on treatments to address alcohol misuse and the knock-on effects on long-term health.
The NAO report recommends that the Department of Health provide greater leadership to PCTs through measures such as guidance on causes of misuse and trends in their localities.
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