‘Shocking waste of money’: Binge drinking costs EVERY Stockport taxpayer £86 in NHS contributions

By John Paul Shammas

An out-of-control binge drinking culture is costing EVERY Stockport taxpayer £86 in NHS contributions – as Stepping Hill’s A&E admissions increased 11% last year.

Speaking in Parliament last week, Labour’s Salford’s MP Hazel Blears raised concerns that this problem had spiralled out of control.

And action is today being called for by Hazel Grove’s Liberal Democraty MP Andrew Stunell, urging Government Ministers to press ahead with steps to tackle binge drinking and alcohol-fuelled violence.

He said: “Every taxpayer in Stockport is putting £86 each year into our NHS just to pay for treatment for alcohol abusers. 

“That is a shocking waste of money that could and should be spent on bringing better health care for us all. 

“I want to see a more responsible attitude by drinkers, with more education about the long-term ill health that heavy drinkers risk.”

Over a quarter of Stockport residents are drinking at dangerously high levels, according to figures just released by Alcohol Concern, with alcohol misuse leading to over 56,000 hospital admissions in Stockport in  2012, costing the NHS an estimated £20 million. 

Mr Stunell met Alcohol Concern’s chief executive last week to discuss practical ways of tackling the problem and improving awareness of the costs and risks of alcohol overuse.

“Top of their list for action is a minimum sale price for alcohol, and I’m pressing the Government to put that in place quickly,” Mr Stunell said.

Stockport is of course not alone in its binge drinking culture. Nationally, over 10 million people are drinking above the Government’s recommended limits, draining NHS resources. 

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, President of the British Gastroenterology Society and former President of the Royal College of Physicians said: “It is the unwitting chronic middle-aged drinkers who are taking serious risks with their health.

“People simply do not realise that chronic drinking significantly increases their chances of suffering health problems.  Indeed it is these people who are costing the NHS the most.”

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