Alcohol related health map of the UK

This was a news story covered by HuffPost UK in September

Places in the UK with the highest rates of people admitted to hospital for alcohol-related liver disease have been mapped out by health officials, in a bid to “paint a powerful picture of one of the many impacts that alcohol has on patients and the NHS in this country.”

UK alcohol health map 2014

The map (click to enlarge) shows rates of regional emergency admissions for every 100,000 people living in each area during this timeframe.

The place with the highest rate of admissions was Greater Manchester where 45.8 people out of every 100,000 living in the region were admitted as an emergency.

The places with the lowest rates of admissions were Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire where hospitals in the regions admitted 14.7 people out of every 100,000 people.

HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said: “This map paints a powerful picture of one of the many impacts that alcohol has on patients and the NHS in this country.”

Jackie Ballard, chief executive of charity Alcohol Concern, said: “These figures show that the problems caused by alcohol misuse are continuing to put an increasing strain on our NHS.

“More than half of those who drink do so at risky levels and these figures show it isn’t just binge drinking youngsters but middle-aged, and often middle class drinkers who are regularly drinking above recommended limits. It’s this regular drinking of a bit too much too often that stores up all sorts of health problems.

“Unless we start taking this seriously and acknowledge the health problems too much alcohol can cause, the situation will only get worse.”

So in my neck of the woods we’re in the middle statistically. What we have to remember though is that this is hospital admissions for alcohol related liver disease and that these are people where the outward physical signs of harm are now manifesting.  75% of the damage is done by this stage.

Alcohol Concern have also released an Alcohol Harm Map that allows you to drill down statistically for each region and county.  So looking at their statistics 20% of my county are drinking at a level which increases the risk of damaging their health.  1 in 5.  That’s A LOT.  That doesn’t include the high risk drinkers, which is a further 6% taking the county total up to 26% or 1 in 4.  Jeepers 🙁

And to me what’s really interesting is that the increasing risk drinkers have a higher cost burden at £20.2m per year compared to the high risk drinkers cost burden of £6.9m.

If there was a programme that could help the increasing risk drinkers to reduce and manage their drinking therefore preventing them becoming high risk drinkers that would be a total saving of £27.1m a year in this county alone.  I appreciate that there will always be those who, for whatever reason, cannot be helped but surely it’s worth piloting at least to see what the real time impact is?  Why this isn’t happening just confounds me as it seems so obvious ………

What do you think?



6 thoughts on “Alcohol related health map of the UK

  1. 20% and 6% in my county also Lou 🙁 iceberg ain’t it 🙁

    such a minefield growing beneath this country’s feet. but we CAN change the zeitgeist for our children 🙂

    1. Iceberg indeed Prim 🙁 We will do our damnedest – one person at a time!! 🙂

  2. First I am thinking ‘shit would I have that too?’, secondly ‘No, but this is real sad’, thirdly that the UK people live up to their reputation and finally I am wondering why it looks like all the social life of the UK and Ireland seems to be concentrated around pubs or at least alcoholic get togethers like bbq’s. It has always made me wonder; is there actually such a thing as getting together without drinking? I lived in New Zeeland for about half a year, there was no such thing as getting together without having to go somewhere. Drinking tea in the garden and chatting was ‘not an option’. That is also what surprises me in all the blogs in the blogosphere; for most people every get together is a challenge because there will be alcohol. I do not have that. Truth needs to be said I spent years dropping friends that drink too much and making new once that don’t in order to avoid remarks and peer pressure with quitting, but they are out there and not hard to find.

    The Netherlands, traditionally a very stingy, reformed country, have a culture that was still in place when I was young where you visit eachother for ‘coffee’ or ‘tea’. Coffee in the morning is 10:00 o’clock, tea is always in the afternoon is generally around 15:00 or 16:00 and coffee in the evening at 20:00 or 20:30 hours. And no drinking during the week. This would be upper lower class and middle class country side behaviour. Up to the ’80 and ’90 that would have been the norm.

    Of course I have only been on holiday in the UK so I do not know the real life but to me it seems that there is a serious lack of non-alcoholic get togethers. Or in other words: alcohol is totally bred into the culture. It would need a very popular tv-series to change that. :-/

    1. Hey feeling! Thanks for chiming in as I’m always so fascinated by the insights from other countries/cultures particularly our cousins in Northern Europe 😉 We have always been a nation of boozers but it has got worse of late thanks to heavy marketing by the industry and cheap pricing by the supermarkets. We’ve never needed a reason to drink and now the barriers of price and availability are gone there is no reason not too 🙁 You’re observations are correct and it needs to change and we need to learn from the likes of your country 🙂

  3. Seems obvious to me, too, I just don’t understand why, when faced with cold, hard facts, more efforts to educate and reach the increased risk drinkers aren’t being made? I guess the industry is THAT powerful? 🙁 xx

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