100 per day have alcoholic liver disease

Over 100 people a day admitted to hospital for alcoholic liver disease

Following statistics released today by The Information Centre, the British Liver Trust is repeating its calls for urgent action.

Alison Rogers, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust, said: “Every day four people an hour are being admitted to hospital due to alcoholic liver disease. The fact that alcohol related admissions in England have gone up over 50% since 1995/6 should be a matter of great alarm. If it were road traffic deaths, there would be a public outcry.”

This follows the recent report from the Information Centre that 39,180 people in England alone are admitted to hospital with either a primary or secondary diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease.  This figure has tripled over a ten year period. With alcohol causing 22,000 premature deaths a year the time to act is now.

“Cheap and accessible booze coupled with the UK’s ‘anytime anywhere anyplace’ mentality is costing us all very dear, and far too many are literally paying with their lives.”
Unfortunately, it seems the future is not at all positive, with 42% of men and 36% of women aged between 16 and 24 years old drinking above the daily recommendations. These will be the people visiting the liver specialists in five or ten years.

The Trust is calling on the drinks industry, supermarkets and off-licences to help drive the message home that drinking to excess will harm your health.

“Everyone has to take their share of responsibility. Individuals have to think more about their own consumption, but government should be pushing the drinks industry much harder, especially if it is relying on them to self regulate.

It must be within the scope of the drinks industry’s responsibility to its consumers to address the health risks posed by their products. We are more than willing to work with the industry to help drive the health message home. We need a much greater sense of urgency to address this fast-growing problem.”

Solutions such as higher taxation and limits on advertising exist, but the Trust believes that there does not seem to be any political will to push them through.

“We acknowledge there is a conflict of interest between the Treasury and Department of Health, this needs to be overcome. We saw with the tobacco industry that it took decades of pressure to overcome the reluctance of Ministers to warn people properly about the dangers of smoking – how long must we wait for the alcohol messages to get through?,” added Ms Rogers. www.britishlivertrust.org.uk

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