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Home   Medway   News   Article

Medway hospital tackles big drink problem

03 February 2014
by Lizzie Massey

Almost 2,000 people have been admitted to hospital with alcohol-related issues in the past two years, including children under nine and one person over 100.

A total of 971 people were taken into Medway Maritime in 2011/12 and there were 973 in 2012/13, according to the NHS.

Thinkstock Image Library

Thinkstock Image Library

The statistics, released under Freedom of Information requests, indicate people are 35 times more likely to be admitted to hospital for something alcohol-related in Medway than elsewhere in Kent.

Five children under the age of nine were admitted with an alcohol-related diagnosis between 2011 and 2013 and one patient in 20012/13 was over 100.

The figures are not limited to people brought in because they are excessively drunk.
They include people on detoxes who may have withdrawals, those who have had a cocktail of drink and drugs and those who, under the influence, may have tripped or fallen.

Strood GP Dr Julian Spinks said: “I am shocked with the size of the problem in Medway, especially at a time when hospitals and A&E departments are struggling to care for so many people and keep up with the demands of people who are seriously ill, injured or elderly.

“We do not have the resources to deal with people who get themselves into harm simply by drinking too much.

“It is a serious issue across the UK, and Medway in particular, and it is a problem for the people as they end up with long-term consequences.”

Dr Julian Spinks at his Strood surgery

Dr Julian Spinks at his Strood surgery

But Dr Spinks, British Medical Association representative for Medway, said the figures should be viewed with caution.

“Some of the difference in numbers may reflect the different ways hospitals have of recording the reason why a person arrives at hospital,” he said

“If an A&E department is better at recording alcohol related admissions they may mark that down as being the cause of a persons injuries, rather than putting the injury itself solely down as the reason for their admission.”

Chatham MP and chairman of the cross party parliamentary alcohol misuse group, Tracey Crouch, said: “Regardless of how statistics are recorded across various hospitals, the simple truth is we are seeing a worrying number of people being admitted to the Maritime because of alcohol, putting our health service under immense strain.”

Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham

Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham

Teresa Murray,corr deputy leader of Medway’s Labour group and spokesperson for health, said: “The information obviously shows the extent of the problems we have with alcohol in Medway and we have got to deal with it.

“It’s very sad and there needs to be much better support in the community for people suffering with alcohol issues, and their families.

Freedom of Information requests sent by the Messenger to the four hospital trusts in the county, asked how many alcohol-related hospital admissions A&E staff have had to deal with over the past three years.

Within Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust 56 people were admitted in 2012/13 and this dropped to 28 in 2012/13.

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust was unable to collate data for alcohol-related admissions and instead gave admissions solely for “alcohol excess”.

Despite this the trust still had more people than Maidstone, with 112 people admitted in 2012/13 and 113 people the year before.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust refused to provide the information because the work needed to complete the request would exceed time allowed.

  • For the full story and break down of the figures, see Friday’s Medway Messenger.

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