EXPERTS have welcomed figures revealing the number of people in Portsmouth going to hospital because of alcohol – even though numbers have gone up.
Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that in 2013/4 3,610 people in Portsmouth were taken to hospital because of alcohol. This is more than the 3,470 people who were admitted in the 2012/3 year – a four per cent rise.
However Alan Knobel, the alcohol strategy manager at Portsmouth City Council, says that the city is getting on top of the problem, and pointed to figures showing the rate of admissions – how many people per 100,000 patients were brought into hospital because of alcohol.
Portsmouth’s rate was 1,950 per 100,000 patients.
The national rate stands at 2,087, so higher than Portsmouth.
This contrasts to 2009, when Portsmouth’s rate was 1,913 per 100,000 patients admitted to hospital because of alcohol, which was the highest in the south east.
The national rate then was 1,582 – so while across the country more and more people are being hospitalised through drinking, in Portsmouth the picture is more stable.
Mr Knobel said: ‘Through the development of an alcohol strategy with partners in the city, a number of initiatives and campaigns have been run over the last few years which have significantly reduced the rate of growth in alcohol-related hospital admissions. Portsmouth is now lower than the England average and comparable areas.’
Mr Knobel added figures for this year show Portsmouth is now much more stable.
He added: ‘There is a lag on data for 2014/2015, but the first six months shows a reduction in admissions compared to the previous year.
‘It’s positive that Portsmouth is now seeing a more stable picture, although work continues to bring alcohol-related hospital admissions down even further.’
In Gosport there were 1,370 admissions in 2013/2014 – an increase from 1,220 on the year before.
In Fareham there were 1,570 admissions to hospital because of alcohol in 2013/2014, compared to 1,560 in 2012/2014.
Havant is bucking the trend in south-east Hampshire, with a slight reduction. In 2013/2014, there were 2,060 admissions to hospital, a decrease on the previous year when there were 2,070 admissions.
In all areas there were still more men being admitted for alcohol-related problems compared to women.
Councillor Will Purvis, a former governor of Queen Alexandra Hospital, said: ‘The decline in admission rates is a great achievement.
‘Portsmouth has long-standing issues with alcohol and the problems that come up with it in terms of health. A lot of work has been done by QA and the public health team, both when it sat with the NHS and now with the council.
‘The specialist alcohol nurse team at QA has been brilliant. If someone has a problem with alcohol then they don’t always self-refer.
‘With this team if people have alcohol problems in any department of QA they can be referred and they can start getting the help they need.’