- Published on Friday, 12 October 2012 10:13
- Written by Gemma McKenna
Problem drinking among baby boomers is costing the NHS 10 times more than binge drinking in 16-24 year-olds across England, says Alcohol Concern.
The charity has produced a map which illustrates alcohol-related health costs by region, with 55-74 year olds costing £825.6 million versus £63.8 million for 16-24 year olds in 2010/2011.
Other key findings of the Alcohol Harm Map included:
- Over eight times as many 55-74 year olds (454,317) were admitted as inpatients compared to 16-24 year olds (54,682).
- The cost of alcohol-related inpatient admission was £1,993.6 million, over three times greater than the cost of A&E admissions, £636.30m.
- The cost of alcohol-related inpatient admissions for men was £1,278.4 million, just under double the cost for women, £715.1 million.
Alcohol Concern chief executive Eric Appleby said: “It is the common perception that young people are responsible for the increasing cost of alcohol misuse, but our findings show that in reality this is not the case. It is the middle-aged, and often middle class drinker, regularly drinking above recommended limits, who are actually requiring complex and expensive NHS care. There needs to be more investment in local alcohol care pathways and services by Local Authorities for this group, to prevent them from ending up as an in-patient.”
Siobhan McCann, head of campaigns at alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said: “Today’s statistics are a stark reminder of the long-term health impact of regularly drinking over the government’s guidelines. People in their 30s and 40s who we know are drinking more and more frequently than under 25s, are likely to be a burden on local NHS services in the future.
“At any age, there are adverse health impacts of drinking above the government’s guidelines, but in later life your likelihood of developing health problems goes up. Drinking to excess increases your risk of getting diseases including cancer, heart and liver disease – which has no warning signs.”
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, president of the British Gastroenterology Society and former president of the Royal College of Physicians said: “It is the unwitting chronic middle-aged drinkers who are taking serious risks with their health. They present in hospital with conditions attributable to their alcohol consumption such as stroke, heart disease, cancer and liver disease. People simply do not realise that chronic drinking significantly increases their chances of suffering health problems. Indeed it is these people who are costing the NHS the most.”
The map was produced by Alcohol Concern in partnership with pharmaceutical company Lundbeck.