From the Guardian
One in 10 people in a hospital bed in the UK are alcohol-dependent and one in five are doing themselves harm by their drinking, according to research that quantifies for the first time the massive burden to the NHS of Britain’s drinking culture.
Hospitals are struggling to cope with the numbers of people whose heavy drinking habits land them in A&E or mental health units, but while the NHS estimates that the cost of treatment runs to £3.5bn a year, the figures for the numbers of patients affected have been largely anecdotal.
A major review pulling together the results of 124 previous studies involving 1.6 million hospital inpatients reveals that 20% use alcohol harmfully, for instance by binge drinking, while 10% are dependent on alcohol. Experts say alcohol services in the NHS and the community have been cut, leaving a health service fighting to cope.