Portsmouth hospital admissions peak for alcoholic liver disease
Hospital admissions for alcoholic liver disease have hit a record high in Portsmouth, figures have revealed.
Public Health England data shows that in Portsmouth, 80 people were admitted to hospital with liver disease caused by excessive alcohol intake in 2018/19, which is the highest rate since comparable records began in 2010/11.
The city’s admission rate of 47 per 100,000 population is higher than across the whole of the South East, where there were 30 admissions per 100,000 population on average.
Health bosses at Portsmouth City Council say they offer support to help people across the city struggling with alcohol issues.
Cabinet member for health, wellbeing and social care, Councillor Matthew Winnington said: ‘The rate of hospital admissions for alcoholic liver disease in Portsmouth is comparable to other cities with similar levels of deprivation, with our rate being lower than Southampton and Bristol. However, it is an area that we're looking to improve and we have lots of different support on offer.
‘Our Wellbeing Service offers free support for non-dependent drinkers looking to reduce how much alcohol they consume. They can also help people looking to quit smoking or lose weight.
‘The Community Alcohol Support Team (CAST) is based within the Recovery Hub and supports people to cut down or stop drinking through treatments such as detoxification, therapeutic groups, rehabilitation and social support. The Family Support Project provides support for families affected by alcohol.
‘We also invest in the nationally recognised Alcohol Specialist Nurse Service at Queen Alexandra Hospital. This helps patients access alcohol treatment, including detox and helps them engage with other alcohol support services. A recovery worker from CAST also visits the hospital to offer support to patients where alcohol is identified as an issue.’
Alcohol-related admissions in Portsmouth for other conditions including cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and alcohol poisoning has seen a 24 per cent increase from 2012/13 to 2018/19.
Pamela Healy, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: ‘Sadly, men and women who live in the deprived areas in England are up to six times more likely to die from alcohol-related liver disease than those who live in wealthier areas.
‘There is a common misconception that you have to be an ‘alcoholic’ to have liver disease but this is totally incorrect. Millions of us in the UK drink at a level that is putting our health at risk. This has been driven by a shift in the drinking culture where drinking at home has become increasingly acceptable and affordable.
‘While initiatives like Dry January and Sober for October are a great way to reset your relationship with alcohol and give your liver health a boost, making long-term changes is vital.’
She added that the government needs to take ‘urgent action’ by increasing the price of alcohol and introducing clearer labelling to help people understand drinking limits.
Cllr Winnington added: ‘I support minimum unit pricing as to date it's been shown to be successful in Scotland in reducing home drinking, and I would be keen to see it implemented in England.’