Figures suggest alcohol-related hospital admissions in Luton costing NHS £8.1 million

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A charity has called for more alcohol care teams in hospitals

Alcohol-related hospital admissions in Luton are costing the NHS £8.1 million a year, new figures suggest.

Alcohol Change UK said the number of people affected by alcohol harm is rising and called for more alcohol care teams in hospitals, alongside further preventative measures.

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The most recent figures from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities show hospital admissions with a primary or secondary alcohol-related diagnosis in Luton cost the NHS an estimated £8,133,000 in the year to March 2021.

Man drinking beer from a bottle. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA WireMan drinking beer from a bottle. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Man drinking beer from a bottle. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

There were 3,439 alcohol-related hospital admissions in Luton across this period. It meant the cost per capita in the area was about £48 – slightly below the national level of £49 per person.

Dr Richard Piper, chief executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: "It's important to recognise that there are more people struggling with alcohol problems in the UK than most of us realise, and that the number of people being affected by alcohol harm is increasing.

"Alcohol care teams are currently available in some hospitals in the UK. But we need them to be available in every major hospital, working across hospital departments and with community alcohol services, to ensure that people struggling with alcohol problems receive the help they need."

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He added: "We also need to put prevention measures in place to stop people reaching the stage when they need to attend hospital in the first place."

Across England, OHID estimates admissions to hospital with a primary diagnosis of an alcohol-related condition, or a secondary diagnosis with an alcohol-related external cause cost the NHS £2.2 billion in 2020-21. It was up from £1.9 billion estimated for 2019-20.

A Government spokesperson said: "Alcohol use can ruin lives and destroy families which is why we are acting to support those most at risk."

They said a record £532 million of additional investment has been made through to 2024-25 to improve drug and alcohol treatment and recovery service as part of a ten-year drug strategy.

The added: "We are also funding specialist alcohol care teams at one in four hospitals in England, based on those with the greatest need."

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