04/05/2011

One Day, 5,500 Patients - Alcohol Costing £28m



According to a survey conducted by the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland, on one day in April, alcohol was a factor in more than 5,500 consultations in general practice. This equates to around 1.4 million consultations per year, costing the NHS in excess of £28 million and accounts for six per cent of all GP consultations.



The results of the BMA study are based on a sample of 31 practices (3% of the total number of practices) from across Scotland. These practices reported that, on the 21st of April, 169 consultations with a GP or practice nurse had alcohol as a factor. 

BMA Scotland is therefore calling on candidates in all the political parties to acknowledge the damaging influence of alcohol misuse on individuals and in communities every day in Scotland and to spend one of the last few days of the election campaign outlining how they will tackle alcohol misuse in the next Scottish Parliament.

 In one day:
  • Alcohol will cost Scotland £97.5 million in terms of health, violence and crime
  • Alcohol will kill five people
  • 98 people will be admitted to hospital with an alcohol related condition
  • 23 people will commit a drink driving offence
  • 450 victims of violent crime will perceive their assailant to be under the influence of alcohol
Dr Alan McDevitt, Deputy Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: “We wanted to conduct this survey to demonstrate very clearly how much of an impact alcohol has on the everyday work of general practice. Those who suffer from alcohol related health problems are not just alcoholics or heavy binge drinkers. By regularly drinking over and above recommended limits, a significant proportion of the adult population is at risk of experiencing health problems that are linked to the alcohol they consume whether it is high blood pressure, breast cancer or even domestic abuse.

He added: “The patients seen in general practice are just the tip of the iceberg. The impact of alcohol misuse across the rest of the NHS, in hospitals and in our communities is far greater.

That is why we are asking the parliamentary candidates to spend one day talking about how they are going to address this serious issue in the next Scottish Parliament. I think this is the very least that they can do for their constituencies.”

Theresa Fyffe, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland, said: “We now need to hear from politicians of all parties about what they are going to do to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol. For instance, they could consider investing in more alcohol liaison nurses who provide a whole range of support that ultimately saves the NHS money by reducing re-attendance at A&E and hospital admissions. It is time for the political parties to set out exactly what they intend to do to help stem the tide of harm caused by alcohol across Scotland.”

(BMcN/GK)


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