Ashfield among worst areas in England for liver disease
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An alcohol awareness charity has said there is an “urgent need” for high quality treatment for alcohol-related conditions such as liver disease.
Figures from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities suggest there were 405 hospital admissions for liver disease in Ashfield last year, equivalent to 310 admissions for every 100,000 people and higher than the average of 153 hospitalisations per 100,000 people across England.
However, national admission rates increased 22 per cent in the year to 2021-22 compared with the year before, rising to 82,000 from 67,000 in 2020-21.
Admissions where the primary diagnosis was alcoholic liver disease rose by 12 per cent over the same period.
Andrew Misell, of charity Alcohol Change UK, said the rise in alcohol-related health issues, including liver disease, are “a tragedy and crisis”.
He said: “We must respond with not only treatment, but prevention. We must stop people reaching the stage when they need to attend hospital.”
He called for the introduction of minimum-unit pricing on alcohol, alongside restrictions alcohol advertising.
Generally, men are more likely to be hospitalised for liver disease. In Ashfield, there were 428 admissions for liver disease per 100,000 men in the area, compared with 202 for women.
Across both sexes, the East Midlands saw a hospitalisation rate of 172 for liver disease.
Mr Misell said: “The most effective way to prevent alcohol-related liver problems is to avoid alcohol.
“However, if you do drink, then do so within the low-risk guidelines of no more than 14 units a week, which means about six pints of normal strength beer or one-and-a-half bottles of wine per week, and spreading your intake over three days or more with a few alcohol-free days too.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Identifying disease early in those at-risk and supporting them to stop drinking is key to halt or even reverse damage to the liver.”
“That’s why it’s good news an increasing number of people are coming forward for alcohol-risk assessments as part of the NHS health check.”
The DHSC said it was investing £532 million into drug and alcohol treatment services and care teams in hospitals with the most alcohol-related admissions.