Alcohol misuse imposing " considerable strain " on NHS in Tayside

16 March 2010

Alcohol excess and dependency are imposing a "considerable strain" on the workload and resources of the NHS in the Tayside, says Marlyn Glen.

To raise awareness of the scale of "this growing public health concern" on the NHS locally, Ms. Glen has released figures that estimate the cost last year of alcohol harm to four services in NHS Tayside.

These were emergency ambulance call outs, Accident and Emergency attendances, outpatient appointments, and hospital beds occupied by those with alcohol related conditions.

Ambulance emergency call outs

There were 27,825 emergency ambulance call outs in NHS Tayside last year.

Government research indicates that 25 per cent of all such ambulance call outs are alcohol-related.

The average cost of an emergency ambulance call out is 244.

The cost of alcohol misuse to ambulance resources in NHS Tayside is estimated by :

The cost of alcohol misuse to ambulance resources in NHS Tayside is estimated at 1.66 million last year.

 

Accident and Emergency attendances

There were 73,967x attendances at A&E departments within large hospitals in NHS Tayside last year.

Government research indicates that 25 per cent of all such attendances are alcohol-related.

The average cost of an A&E attendance is 100.

The cost of alcohol misuse to A&E resources in NHS Tayside is estimated at 1.84 million last year.

 

Outpatient attendances

The number of outpatient attendances in NHS Tayside last year was 131,046

Government research indicates that 10 per cent of all such attendances are alcohol-related.

The average cost of an outpatient attendance is 112

The cost of alcohol misuse to outpatient resources in NHS Tayside last year is estimated at 1.47 million

 

Beds occupied by those with alcohol -related conditions

The number of days last year that beds in NHS Tayside acute hospitals were occupied by those with an alcohol-related condition where alcohol was either a primary or secondary factor was 14,705

The average cost of occupying a bed in an acute hospital is 569 a day.

The cost of alcohol misuse from the hospitalisation of those with alcohol -related conditions ( either a primary and secondary diagnosis ) to hospital bed resources in NHS Tayside in 2008-09 is 8.00 million.

 

These estimates deal only with these four services and do not take account of the cost of alcohol excess on

psychiatric bed use

prescribed drugs

or laboratory testing.

Neither do they taking into account the number of GP consultations for alcohol abuse. The latest annual Scotland-wide figure is 102,000.

Ms. Glen said,

" These figures clearly illustrate the impact that excessive drinking has on the limited resources of the NHS by consuming vital hospital and ambulance services.

"Moderate drinking is socially acceptable; heavy drinking should not be , since its inevitable consequence, serious ill-health, is preventable.

"Attitudes towards smoking have changed.

" Attitudes towards the dangers of inappropriate drinking must change as well.

" Highlighting the spiralling cost of alcohol misuse provides support for the use of resources being spent on reducing the damage associated with it."

 

Download : Estimating the cost to the NHS in Tayside of alcohol misuse - news release and the calculations

 

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