Updated: Friday, 22nd November 2019 @ 5:41am

Alcoholism increase forces Manchester City Council to combat growing problem – after hospital admissions rise 150% in last decade

Alcoholism increase forces Manchester City Council to combat growing problem – after hospital admissions rise 150% in last decade

By Matt Jones

Rising rates of alcoholism in Manchester are forcing the City Council to introduce new combative measures.

The Manchester Alcohol Strategy was set up with the aim of 'reducing alcohol-related harm to individuals, families and communities in the city'.

It also hopes to change the culture around drinking so that people can continue to enjoy alcohol in a safe way.

Alcohol abuse costs Britain up to £25billion pounds through its impact on productivity in the workplace and as a result of alcohol related crime and disorder. There are however, resources for addicts and their families.

Councillor Glynn Evans, Executive Member for Adults Health and Well-being, said: “There is growing evidence that indicates alcohol is having a harmful impact not only on our health, but it can lead to work problems, family breakdown and even crime and anti-social behaviour.”

While Manchester has a higher population of abstainers than the regional average (20% in Manchester compared to 15% regionally), such statistics mask a far more complex and worrying picture.

Manchester is the fourth most deprived local authority area in England, and has over 13,000 dependant drinkers.

In such areas of high depravation, while levels of abstinence are higher, those who drink are more likely to do so to excess, resulting in alcohol-related deaths being 45% higher than in more affluent areas.

Manchester has had a multi-agency alcohol strategy in place since 2005, and in a number of areas it has proved effective.

Greater Manchester Police continue to identify and shut down irresponsible retailers.

Care Facilitators in each of the city's three hospitals are ensuring drinkers have access to treatment once they are discharged.

Despite the risk of incosistency that a number of bodies joining forces together can cause, Liz Burns, of the Public Health Development Service, said: “Now that we have community alcohol services under one umbrella we have a real opportunity to make a difference to people's lives."

Councillor Evans echoed Ms Burns’ views, and said that it is essential that we continue to work together to tackle the problem head on.

Manchester has one of the highest rates in the country for hospital admissions as a result of alcohol abuse.

There were 13,783 alcohol-attributable cases from 2010 to 2011, an increase of 150% in the last decade, and each case costs the NHS an estimated £1,800.

One of the report’s recommendations was that NHS professionals should have the power to fine patients who disrupt the workings of hospitals through antisocial behaviour as a result of being drunk.

However, critics of the initiative argue that dependant drinkers need help, not punishment, as an incentive to change their attitudes towards alcohol.

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