RCP President comments on drinking and the 'unsustainable burden' on NHS hospitals

Commenting on today’s publication of a joint briefing from the Royal College of Physicians and the NHS Confederation, Too Much Of The Hard Stuff: What Alcohol Costs The NHS, Professor Ian Gilmore, President of the Royal College of Physicians said:

The nation’s growing addiction to alcohol is putting an immense strain on health services, especially in hospitals, costing the NHS over £2.7 billion each year. This burden is no longer sustainable. The role of the NHS should not just be about treating the consequences of alcohol related-harm but also about active prevention, early intervention, and working in partnership with services in local communities to raise.

Professor Gilmore’s remarks were in response to figures in the report that suggest there has been a massive rise in the numbers of people drinking heavily. It concludes with the suggestion that better and more cost effective care could be provided by improving systems to identify, assess and treat patients within hospital and learn from existing best practice.