Shocking new figures show that 6% of all hospital admissions – more than 800,000 people a year – are in some way drink related, it has been reported.
According to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, the Department of Health puts the cost of treating the 811,000 annual alcohol-related admissions at GBP 2.7 billion – including 17,000 cancer cases caused by drink.
The paper quoted a Department of Health source as saying: “It is important that we get the real figures so no one is in doubt about how widespread and potentially damaging alcohol-related illnesses are. The action can only be taken when the full scale of the problem is known.”
The report coincides with the publication of the UK government’s plans for tackling Britain’s binge-drinking culture and cutting the associated cost faced by the health service.
The latest government proposals could see tighter regulation of the drinks industry, including a ban on happy hours in pubs and clubs.
It comes after a report commissioned by the Home Office and carried out by KPMG recommended a complete overhaul of laws governing the alcohol industry. It found rules were regularly flouted to allow “irresponsible and harmful practices”.
These included the sale of alcohol to people under 18, sales of alcohol to “blatantly intoxicated” people, and the promotion of excessive drinking through cut-price offers.
The report concluded that “the commercial imperative generally overrides adherence” to a voluntary code. Drinks promotions and happy hours are currently regulated by individual pub companies.
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