Health leaders from NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are asking people to use Alcohol Awareness Week (14 - 20 November) as a time to think carefully about their relationship with alcohol as the festive period nears.
The latest map of alcohol harm published by Alcohol Concern shows that the total number of alcohol-related NHS admissions, including inpatient, outpatient and A&E visits, hit almost 10 million in England.
The theme for this year is ‘Knowing the Risks’. The aim is to get people thinking about alcohol – how it affects individuals, families, communities and society as a whole. An estimated 7.5 million people are unaware of the damage their drinking could be causing. Alcohol related harm costs England around £21bn per year, with £3.5bn to the NHS, £11bn tackling alcohol-related crime and £7.3bn from lost work days and productivity costs**
Despite this, more than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limits. To keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level people are advised to regularly drink no more than 14 units per week – 14 units is equivalent to a bottle and a half of wine or five pints of export-type lager (5% abv) over the course of a week – this applies to both men and women.
Dr Nicola Smith, Chair of NHS Milton Keynes CCG, said: “Alcohol is linked to over 60 medical conditions and harm from alcohol goes much further than the liver. It can cause high blood pressure and is also linked to diabetes, depression and cancer. Drinking alcohol above recommended levels can have a damaging impact upon almost every part of the body and it’s important that people understand the consequences drinking at unsafe levels can have on their health.
“Drinking more than the recommended limit is a habit that is easy to fall into – especially in the build up to, and during, the festive period – but drinking just a little too much alcohol puts people at greater risk of developing serious alcohol-related illnesses. This is why we’re encouraging everyone to use Alcohol Awareness Week as a time to think carefully about their relationship with alcohol and resolve to drink sensibly.”
For advice on sensible drinking, visit www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol