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Bradford consultant issues warning over binge-drinking
7:00am Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
Yorkshire has the worst problem of binge-drinking in the country and the trend is being reflected in Bradford, a senior doctor has warned.
Dr Paul Southern, a consultant hepatologist at Bradford Royal Infirmary, described new drinking habit figures, revealed yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, as worrying.
The Department of Health estimates the harmful use of alcohol costs the National Health Service in England about £3.5 billion a year, and eight per cent of all hospital admissions involved an alcohol-related condition.
Figures for Bradford show the total cost of alcohol-related treatment was £35 million last year, including £6.7 million in A&E attendances and £7 million in outpatients appointments – equating to £88 per adult.
Excessive drinking can lead to more than 40 medical conditions, including cancer, stroke, hypertension, liver disease and heart disease.
According to the Office for National Statistics report, young people aged between 16 and 24 are the heaviest drinkers and Yorkshire has a higher than average incidence of people drinking more on single days, which Dr Southern says appears to suggest binge-drinking.
One in five women from the region interviewed for the survey admitted drinking the bulk of the week’s recommended units on a single day, consuming nine of the recommended 14 units.
Dr Southern said: “The anxiety is that it confirms what we are seeing here in Bradford and that although people may not be able to afford to drink much, when they do have a drink they drink a lot in just one go and the dangers of that are particularly pertinent at this time of year.
“I am seeing more and more young woman in clinic because of drink.”
Last month, Dr Southern said excessive boozing was already causing a rise in cases of liver cancer and brain damage in the city as well as placing a huge burden on hospital finances.
He said the number of heavy drinkers diagnosed with liver cancer was increasing and set to soar further, while the risk of dying from other cancers is on the decline.
An estimated 100,000 people in the district hold down responsible jobs while drinking at hazardous levels – regarded as above the weekly recommended 21 units for men and 14 units for women – which could mean they develop cancer.
At least once a month a patient in Bradford is sent to a nursing home because they are suffering alcohol-induced brain damage called Korsakoff-Wernikes syndrome, which occurs when low levels of vitamins cause confusion and problems with walking and vision.
Last year in Bradford, 138 people died from alcohol-related causes – 101 men and 37 women.
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