DCSIMG

Drinkers’ £30m bill at hospital

File photo dated 01/12/06 of a man drinking a pint of beer as a row has broken out over whether English towns should promote cheap booze to Scots when a minimum price per unit is introduced north of the border next year. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 22, 2012. See PA story POLITICS Alcohol. Photo credit should read: Johnny Green/PA Wire

File photo dated 01/12/06 of a man drinking a pint of beer as a row has broken out over whether English towns should promote cheap booze to Scots when a minimum price per unit is introduced north of the border next year. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 22, 2012. See PA story POLITICS Alcohol. Photo credit should read: Johnny Green/PA Wire

ALCOHOL-related emergency treatment is costing Doncaster Hospital almost £30 million a year.

In just one year staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary dealt with 37,738 patients admitted because of alcohol-related conditions or injuries.

That equates to an average cost of £97 per adult living in Doncaster and came to a total NHS cost of £28.8 million.

The figures were presented to a meeting of Doncaster Council’s overview and scrutiny panel.

They also showed there were 30 deaths in one year due to liver disease caused by excessive drinking.

Health bosses say Doncaster’s drinking problem is worse than the national average and is getting worse among women.

In the New Year the town is launching a new integrated service to help those with addictions to all substances.

At present drug addicts access help at The Garage in Thorne Road while alcoholics use a service based in Hall Gate.

Although Doncaster’s alcohol-related death rate went down between 2004 and 2010, it is significantly above the average for England and Wales.

When the figures are broken down by gender, the death rate per 1,000 population in women shot up from 4.5 in 2004 to 10.5 in 2010.

Excess drink also leads to crime - but Superintendent Peter Norman, senior officer for Doncaster Partnerships and Neighbourhoods, said crime attributed to alcohol consumption had fallen from 12.4 crimes per 1,000 people to 7.2.

“There is still lots to do but the situation is improving,” he said.

“We are adopting a four year strategy of substance misuse treatment and strategic management.

“It is not just around police enforcement, there is also a cultural element around people’s self control and trying to make people aware of the damage they can do - 85 per cent of all violent crime is linked to alcohol.”

Supt Norman said the target audience was those aged 16 to 29 who are most likely to drink to excess.

“The peak rate for being a victim of violent crime is 17, the peak rate for being violent is 18, so this campaign will be aimed at parents as well.”

He defended the policy of giving drink-related offenders a fixed penalty for a first offence adding the re-offending rate was only 26 out of 1,440 tickets issued.

Helen Conroy, of the Doncaster Alcohol Advisory Service, said the new service would treat addiction rather than separately treating abuse of different substances.

The Garage drug centre in Thorne Road is to be ‘rebranded’ as Rosslyn House and will have a social area and coffee bar and provide access to mentors and health professionals.

During the meeting, Coun Elsie Butler asked Supt Norman about daytime drinkers causing a nuisance in Doncaster town centre.

She said: “People want to know what’s being done about them. You can’t say anything to them because they’re in gangs. Are they allowed to just walk round drinking?”

Supt Norman said they could be ‘rounded up’ and incidents of drunkness around the market area had gone down.

Coun Monty Cuthbert asked if all-night drinking had caused more problems but Supt Norman said there were fewer confrontations at taxi ranks because of people going home at different times.

 

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