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NHS Briefing - Too much of the hard stuff: what alcohol costs the NHS

Consumption of alcohol in the UK has increased by 19 per cent over the last three decades1 and is now higher than in any other European country. Recent reports indicate that 10.5 million adults in England drink above sensible limits2 and around 1.1 million have a level of alcohol addiction. Alcohol is the third leading cause of disease burden in developed countries and, as a result, the cost of providing alcohol-related services is escalating. The burden on the NHS will be unsustainable if this continues.

This Briefing, produced with the Royal College of Physicians, outlines the extent of the problem and gives examples of where the NHS is managing problem drinkers effectively and efficiently. The NHS Confederation visited hospitals between August and November 2009 and gathered evidence from members to gain an understanding of the extent of the burden and the ways in which hospitals can improve their services.

Download the full briefing document here. (pdf 351kb)