Health leaders urge people to think about their alcohol intake

Health leaders from NHS Erewash and NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are asking people to use Alcohol Awareness Week (17 - 23 November) as a time to think carefully about their relationship with alcohol as the festive period nears. Latest statistics show that there were 336 alcohol-related deaths in Derbyshire for the period 2012-13.

A new map of alcohol harm published by Alcohol Concern in October covering the period 2012-13 shows that the total number of alcohol-related NHS admissions, including inpatient, outpatient and A&E visits, hit almost 10 million in England during 2012-13. 134,278 of those admissions were in Derbyshire. Patients in hospital with high blood pressure linked to alcohol cost the NHS in Derbyshire £10,335,000 which equates to £63 per adult and is £4,063,000 more than the East Midlands average.

Alcohol Awareness Week runs 17 - 23 November. The theme for this year is ‘Facing our alcohol problem: Taking back our health and high streets.’ Local authorities and other organisations, from pharmacies to treatment service providers will work together to raise awareness of alcohol issues and the impact it can have on the health of people and the communities they live in.

Interesting facts relating to alcohol: 

  • Alcohol is 45% more affordable than it was in 1980
  • Alcohol misuse costs England approximately £21bn per year in healthcare, crime and lost productivity costs
  • Average alcohol consumption has gradually fallen in many OECD countries between 1980 and 2009 with an average overall decrease of 9%. The United Kingdom however, has seen an increase of over 9% in these three decades
  • It is estimated that 2.6 million children in the UK are living with parents who are drinking hazardously and 705,000 living with dependent drinkers

 Source: Alcohol Concern

In addition to mapping the cost of admissions for causes directly related to alcohol misuse, the new map also reveals comprehensively for the first time the burden of a number of additional conditions in which alcohol is a significant contributory factor, demonstrating the wider health and financial impact unsafe drinking is having.

Commenting on the significance of the data for the NHS, Dr Avi Bhatia, Chair of NHS Erewash CCG, said:

“Alcohol-related illnesses are putting a huge strain on the NHS, not just from visits to A&E, but from a significant number of other conditions requiring treatment in which alcohol plays a major, but often unremarked part. With almost ten million alcohol-related hospital admissions nationally we can see just how serious an impact unsafe levels of alcohol consumption is having on our health system.”

Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG, added:

“Drinking alcohol above recommended levels can have a damaging impact upon almost every part of our body and it’s important that people understand the consequences drinking at unsafe levels can have on their health. Drinking more than the recommended limit is a habit that is easy to fall into in the build up to, and during, the festive period, but drinking just a little too much alcohol puts people at greater risk of developing high blood pressure and serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. This is why we’re encouraging everyone to use Alcohol Awareness Week as a time to think carefully about their relationship with alcohol and resolve to drink sensibly, not only during the festive period but for always.”

For advice on sensible drinking, visit

Published: 19/11/2014